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Assimilation, in common parlance, refers to a unidirectional and linear process that occurs when one group assumes the dress, speech patterns, tastes, attitudes, and, perhaps, most important, the economic status of the dominant group. However, in recent years, this perspective has been challenged. Newer theories of assimilation highlight the impact of structural- and individual-level factors and different outcomes for assimilation among immigrant and host groups.

Classic Assimilation: Robert Park and the Melting Pot

The earliest version of the assimilation model is that of classic assimilation. The key assumption of this perspective is that there is a gradual but natural process by which diverse ethnic groups come to share a common culture. Assimilation, however, is seen as a subtractive process in which immigrants lose ethnic/national characteristics to ...

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