The sociology of John Porter: ethnicity as anachronism

Vallee, Frank G.
December 1981
Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology;Dec81, Vol. 18 Issue 5, p639
Academic Journal
The article focuses on sociologist John Porter's views on ethnicity. The author discusses Porter's White Anglo-Saxon Protestant background which was a dominant ethnic component of the society in Canada. An attempt is made to correct any impression that Porter's views were based on assumptions about Anglo-Saxon cultural superiority. Porter is one of the most frequently cited authors in Canadian writings on ethnicity, particularly those that deal with the coincidence between ethnicity and socio-economic status. The findings, metaphors, and concepts he introduced or popularized have contributed to literature on ethnicity. He concentrated on the distributive aspect of ethnicity and on the question of how people in different ethnic categories were distributed in the systems of power and stratification. Porter viewed ethnicity as a problem for modern society. He acknowledged that historical and geographical circumstances produced differences between Canada and the U.S. in the extent to which they leaned either towards ethnic pluralism or assimilation. The article also discusses Porter's views on multiculturalism in Canada.


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