Ecological Approaches in the Study of Racial and Ethnic Differentiation and Inequality

  • Mark A. Fossett
  • Cynthia M. Cready
Part of the The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis book series (PSDE)

Abstract

Ethnic differentiation and inequality have been central concerns in human ecological theory and research since inception of the field. Leading figures in “classical” ecology considered race and ethnic issues at length and made many significant contributions to the study of racial and ethnic relations (e.g., Burgess 1928; Cressey 1938; McKenzie [1931]1968; Park 1950; Park and Burgess 1925; Wirth 1928). The works of these classical ecologists continue to influence the sociology of race and ethnicity in many different ways. Contemporary research on ethnic residential segregation, for example, directs attention to ecological processes of succession, resegregation, and spatial assimilation (Massey and Mullan 1984; Massey and Denton 1993; Bean and Tienda 1987) and is grounded in the classical assumption that spatial patterns of residential distribution reflect social distance (Massey 1985; White 1987). Continuity between classical and contemporary ecological studies also is evident in analyses that focus on themes of intergroup competition (Hannan 1979; Olzak 1986; Olzak and Nagel 1986; Lieberson 1970) and processes of assimilation (Niedert and Farley 1985; Farley and Frey 1994; Massey and Mullan 1984). Likewise, recent research emphasizing the segregation, centralization, and concentration of ethnic minority and poverty populations (Massey and Eggers 1990; Wilson 1987; Kasarda 1985; White 1987) draws on notions of urban structure that resonate with the principles of urban spatial organization that classical ecology first advanced.2

Keywords

Ethnic Identity Ethnic Diversity American Sociological Review Residential Segregation Ecological Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Fossett
    • 1
  • Cynthia M. Cready
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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