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Rutledge M. Dennis

Subject Sociology » Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Accommodation was one of the four features of Robert Park and Ernest Burgess's model of social interaction. Though the concept illustrated racial and ethnic social changes taking place in the United States and the rest of the world during the last half of the nineteenth century and the first two or three decades of the twentieth, and for this reason lacks a certain relevance today, there are still aspects of the term, as defined by Park and Burgess, which might provide insights into specific patterns of racial and ethnic interaction and aid in our understanding of the dynamics of social change. Utilizing Simmel's model of dominance and its pivotal role in superordinate and subordinate relations, Park and Burgess describe accommodation as a procedure which limits conflicts and cements relations, in that groups and individuals recognize dominant individuals and groups as well as their positions within these super- and subordinate relations. On the surface, this logic appears to be one of “live and let live,” and appears to be grounded in an idea similar to that of social and cultural pluralism. In the United States, the term has been closely associated with the policies of Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute and the most influential black leader in the US between the 1890s and 1915. Washington adopted a strategy of racial accommodation because he knew confrontational ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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