The social systems of American ethnic groups

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Reviews the book, The social systems of American ethnic groups by W. Lloyd Warner and Leo Srole (1945). This third volume of the Yankee City Series is a most interesting study of the social systems of ethnic groups in an extant New England community. It evoked two impressions of interest to potential readers: First, the book may profitably be read independently of the first two volumes. Second, the authors admirably succeed in presenting graphic pictures of the conditions and positions of eight ethnic groups in the community. In all, there are ten chapters detailing respectively the spatial distribution of the groups, their economic participation in the community, their positions in the social hierarchy, their family systems, church affiliations, memberships in associations, language behavior, and schooling. Three additional chapters are assorted in content. The underlying problem of the book is posed as “an examination of the validity of America's conception of itself as the ‘great melting pot’.” Implicitly the entire volume spoils the analogy as Anglo-Saxon Protestantism seems to compose the mould of the pot. Although this volume tells us little about the mould, it describes very satisfactorily the ingredients in the pot and what changes they have undergone thus far in the melting process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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