Maxwell School, Syracuse University

J. Milton Yinger

Ethnicity: Source of Strength? Source of Conflict?
State University of New York Press,1994


J. Milton Yinger - Ethnicity


Almost without exception, the societies of the world are multiethnic.  The decline of empires, the appearance of new states, the expansion of communication networks, demographic trends, the weakening of the legitimacy of state authority have brought ethnic relations into the spotlight.

The purpose of this book is to develop analytical tools, concepts, perspectives that can be used in a wide variety of circumstances, contributing not only to our understanding, but also to humane policies.  The author develops clear and reasonable usages for the central terms:  ethnic group, nation, race, pluralism, assimilation, and dissimilation, among others.  He documents the range of experiences covered in discussions of ethnicity.  Ethnic differences are involved in some of the world’s most intractable conflicts.  They are also experienced as the source of the most satisfying and the most essential aspects of life.


             “Yinger is one of the world’s leading authorities on this subject; and this book provides a valuable distillation of his work and thought on this critical issue.  I like most, as I have for years in Yinger’s writing, his original thinking on both the macro- and micro-topics of the subject.  This book is not a mere rehash of what is known in the field.  It offers fresh, eve sometimes contrasting, viewpoints to the accepted wisdom in the field.”  T. F. Pettigrew, University of California, Santa Cruz.


“In all his discussions, the approach is carefully analytical, reflecting a skillful mind of an accomplished sociologist. Of special value are Yinger's graphic representations of many issues discussed. There is also ample reference to statistics. Yinger, however, does not limit himself to invoking only sociological literature in the espousal of his arguments. He brings in ideas from historians, philosophers, literary works and even, in a few cases, poetry—an approach that only a senior sociologist can afford. This makes for interesting reading.” Wsevolod W. Isajiw, International Migration Review, Spring 1996, pp. 335-338.


Trustee Professor of Public Administration and Economics