In a nation of immigrants, most American ethnic groups have at some point wrestled with how to reconcile having an identity that is rooted simultaneously in their countries of origin and in the United States, particularly when they are also racialized ethnic minorities. This hybrid identity often blends divergent cultures and traditions. And sociologists, intent on explaining these tensions, have focused on the experiences that have shaped these identities for over a century. As a result, the theoretical roots of contemporary hybridity theories such as the segmented assimilation perspective, can be traced back to “classical” theorists of race, pluralism, and identity such as Robert Park, Horace Kallen, and W.E.B. Dubois. This chapter examines these roots, with the exception of DuBois’s theories of double consciousness (found in Chapter 2) to provide a holistic sociological account of theories of hybrid identities. We suggest that despite the changing nature of immigrant experiences today due to globalization, there is still significant continuity between the processes and outcomes of ethnic identity formation among 19th and 20th century European immigrants and the more racially and ethnically diverse post-1965 immigrants to the United States.

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Copyright © 2008 Brill Publishers. This book chapter first appeared in Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations, By Keri E. Iyall Smith and Patricia Leavy, 101-116. Boston: MA, 2008.

The definitive version is available at: Brill Publishers

Full Citation:

Weiner, Melissa F., and Bedelia Nicola Richards. "Bridging the Theoretical Gap: The Diasporized Hybrid in Sociological Theory." In Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations, edited by Iyall Smith Keri E. and Patricia Leavy, 101-16. Boston, MA: Brill Publishers, 2008.