Diversity, inequality, community in America

August 30, 1999

ITHACA, N.Y. -- One of our country's most unique features is its racial, ethnic and cultural diversity. But America also is characterized by its substantial and persistent social and economic inequality. This diversity and so-called "durable" inequality are the heart of a new book, A Nation Divided: Diversity, Inequality and Community in American Society (Cornell University Press, 1999).

Edited by Cornell University sociologists Phyllis Moen, Donna Dempster-McClain and Henry A. Walker, A Nation Divided explores the origins, influence and implications of these controversial issues.

"Can a nation in which inequality is enmeshed with diversity maintain and/or establish a sense of community?" the co-editors ask in their introduction. "While American society has drawn strength from multiple, and sometimes overlapping identities, when divisions harden, the possibilities of building and sustaining community become increasingly remote."

In the 303-page volume, leading social scientists explore how different groups become socially and economically unequal and how the persistent patterns of durable inequality affect national stability. Incorporating the latest theory and research, the researchers describe the changing demography of diversity and inequality and the interplay of diversity, inequality and community in educational institutions, the military, the family, popular culture and religion. They also offer strategies for reducing durable inequality and creating social harmony.

Authors of the chapters include prominent scholars such as Melvin L. Kohn of Johns Hopkins University, Sandra Lipsitz Bem of Cornell, William Julius Wilson of Harvard University, Glen Elder of the University of North Carolina, James Lowell Gibbs and C. Matthew Snipp of Stanford University and Robin M. Williams Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Cornell, to whom the book is dedicated. The contributors tackle topics such as:

EDITORS : For a review copy, contact Andrea Clardy at (607) 277-2338, fax (607)277-2397 or afc4@cornell.edu.

-- The roots and nature of durable inequalities.

-- The connection between durable inequality and social stability.

-- Challenges to Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's controversial bell curve theory.

-- Discrimination against women and gender minorities, such as gays and lesbians, and the value of assimilation of these groups into the American cultural mainstream.

-- Relationships among ethnic differences, "social location" and geographical location and assimilation, social integration and equality.

-- Trends and problems relating to durable inequality in education, family, mass media and religion.

-- Views of the future in relation to diversity and inequality and potential strategies for promoting equality among diverse groups.

The book contains 23 tables, 20 drawings and six maps. It is available as a paperback ($18.95) or in hard cover ($49.95).
-end-
Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.

-- For information on the book on the web: http://www.corne llpress.cornell.edu/cornellpress/cup3_catalog.taf?_function=detail&Title_ID=3268 &_UserReference=785DEC34C6AB0EFCBB2EE948

-- For information on Phyllis Moen:

http://www.soc.cornell.edu/people/faculty/pem3/pem3.html

-- For information on sociology at Cornell University:

http://www.soc.cornell.edu/

-- For information on the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Institute:

http://www.lifecourse.cornell.edu

Cornell University

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