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The idea that the diverse parts of any culture normally cohere in some determinate fashion has proven useful in the past in at least five contexts. (1) As an aid to description, the assumption of cultural integration has provided an economical way of summarizing large bodies of cultural data and has facilitated the portrayal of cultures in ideal-typical terms. (2) It has been used to help explain the particular ways in which members of a society accept, reject, or modify items which have diffused from other cultures. (3) Administrators and reformers have been guided by the concept in their efforts to find innovations and modes of introducing change which “fit” most comfortably into existing cultures. (4) The breakdown of cultural integration has been hypothesized as a causative factor in accounting for such phenomena as ennui, suicide, crime, and cultural lability. (5) Philosophers of culture have invoked the ideal of cultural integration as a criterion to be used in the evaluation of cultures.

Although cultural integration has been the subject of few sustained theoretical analyses and even fewer empirical studies, recent developments in modern society and in social theory alike have increased the salience of the concept. The cultural dislocations caused by the accelerated pace of change in our times; the increasing number of roles affected by contradictory cultural standards; greater awareness of cultural contradictions in consequence of higher education, mass communications, and more intimate interaction among people with diverse cultural orientations; and anxiety about such inconsistencies resulting from the importance of rationality in a culture increasingly subjected to universalistic standards—these are some of the sociological factors which appear to have promoted concern about the coherence of culture patterns. In addition, the world-wide modernization of traditional societies has stimulated numerous discussions concerning the integration of traditional and modern culture patterns (e.g., Redfield 1950; Almond 1960; Chicago, University of …1963; Levine 1965).

The practical interest in the subject that stems from such considerations is matched by its significance from the point of view of current social theory. The nine distinguished scholars who signed the 1951 statement on the general theory of action assert that “the internal coherence of a body of cultural patterns is always a crucial problem for the student of culture” (Parsons & Shils 1951, p. 21). Much of the scientific excitement over this concept derives from the fact that so “crucial” an aspect of culture is to a large extent covert, unknown to the bearers of cultures themselves, and must be uncovered through the most imaginative efforts of scientific curiosity. Theoretically, the concept is related to contemporary efforts to deal in a more precise manner with the differential properties of culture systems and social systems and with their interpenetrations.

Indeed, one of the chief rewards of using the terms “culture” and “social structure” as analytic concepts rather than as global categories has been an increasingly differentiated understanding of the forms and dynamics of integration at the collective level. Consistent with the vagueness of those omnibus categories, earlier social scientists used the term integration in a fairly diffuse sense (e.g., Durkheim 1897; Sumner 1906; Benedict 1934). Sorokin’s insistence on the distinction between systems integrated on the basis of functional interdependence and systems integrated in terms of logical and meaningful coherence (1937-1941) may be identified as the bench mark of a new orientation, even though the distinction as formulated by Sorokin crosscuts the dichotomy of culture and social structure. Most subsequent discussions of cultural integration have either repeated this distinction (Cohen 1948; Geertz 1957), elaborated and refined it (Landecker 1951; Parsons & Shils 1951), or else have dealt with cultural integration in the special sense of a phenomenon sui generis (Kluckhohn 1941; Redfield 1941; Kroeber 1948; Eggan 1955; Parsons 1959).

In addition to this movement from ambiguity to specificity in using the concept of cultural integration, social scientists also raised a number of provocative questions about the sources, forms, limits, and consequences of cultural integration, and in at least a few cases (Linton 1936; Sorokin 1937-1941; Redfield 1941; Kluckhohn 1941; Opler 1945) have circumspectly related the concept to bodies of reliable data. In so doing, they have transformed the character of the concept from an assumed principle to an analytic variable and from an evaluative to a nonevaluative category.

Cultural integration—structural variable

The related assumptions that sociocultural systems are characterized by an inner coherence and unity that is essential to their nature and that this integrity is a salutary and valuable property draw on intellectual traditions that are more than two centuries old. Vico and Montesquieu were early modern proponents of the view that the beliefs, purposes, laws, and customs of a society constitute a meaningfully interrelated complex of traits, not a haphazard assortment. Burke and de Maistre stressed the idea that a society is like an organism, the parts of which are in a natural balance that should not be disrupted by arbitrary innovations derived from abstract reasoning. Rousseau, Herder, and Chaadaev espoused the romantic conception that societies are integrated through their embodiment of distinctive principles, that their “mission” is to realize these unique principles and avoid extraneous influences which interfere with that realization. Such perspectives were incorporated into historical studies through the work of men like Burckhardt, Dilthey, and Lamprecht, for whom the task of scholarship was to discern the characteristic configurations of historical periods which reflect a distinctive harmony, world view, or collective spirit (Volksseele)—a mission revived in this century by the efforts of scholars like Speng-ler, Jaeger, and Basham.

Largely because of anthropological work in the 1930s and after, such extreme views of both the extent and the value of cultural integration have been substantially rejected. The rejection of the view of cultures as totally integrated organic unities—which in any case was probably never adhered to by more than a small minority of serious scholars—may be traced in two stages. Despite Malinowski’s implication that all living cultures are fully integrated—"the significance of culture consists in the relation between its elements, and the existence of accidental or fortuitous culture complexes is not admitted” (1931, p. 625—those cultural anthropologists who were concerned with the problem developed the view that integration is not a vital principle to be assumed fully operative in all cultures but is rather a formal property which varies on a continuum from high to low. Ruth Benedict, who has at times been accused of “mystically” imputing such a principle to cultures, stated explicitly that “lack of integration seems to be as characteristic of certain cultures as extreme integration is of others” (1934, p. 223). Cultural integration came to be visualized as an emergent property—not an essential attribute, but the outgrowth of a continuing process of mutual selection and adjustment of elements into a more or less coherent pattern. “It is not,” stated Kroeber, “a growth of parts unfolding from a germ in accord with a pre-existing harmonious master plan. Such an unfolding has often been assumed, insinuated, or asserted …but it remains wholly undemonstrated, and history shows it to be at least partly untrue” (1948, p. 287).

Using cultural integration as a structural variable, students began to analyze the limits of the extent to which any culture could be called integrated. As other investigators came upon data which diverged from her interpretation of Zuni culture, Benedict’s own cases of “extreme integration” were rendered suspect. Following to a large extent in Benedict’s footsteps, Kluckhohn nevertheless observed that most cultures are “permeated by apparent contradictions” (Kluckhohn & Kelly 1945). And Malinowski himself, despite alleged assumptions of the complete integration of cultures, provided eloquent documentation of the clash of normative principles in primitive society (1926). Observations of this sort were paralleled by two main lines of argument against the theoretical possibility of a perfectly integrated human culture. Since change of some sort due to invention, diffusion, or environmental alteration is always going on, no culture can ever have all its elements in a condition of complete mutual adjustment (Linton 1936, p. 357). Even if change were not inevitable, moreover, culture is “borne” only by being institutionalized in social systems and internalized in personalities, and the “structural imperatives” of these systems of action are such as to require more kinds of culture than can be included in any single consistently integrated pattern (Parsons 1951).

Yet, however much scientific estimates of culture’s capacity for integration get revised downward, the consensus is that the study of culture can never again be reduced to the collecting of pebbles. Redfield has stated the case with characteristic elegance: “There is no society the conventional life of which may be described realistically in terms of a series of accounts of customs and beliefs taken one by one so that each is completely reported without reference to any one of the other” (1941, p. 132). And Opler confessed that “…in a good many years of intensive field work I have never found ’ isolated segments of behavior logically unrelated to the remainder of the culture’” (1946, p. 44). Surveying this whole development, Kluckhohn concluded that “the greatest advance in contemporary anthropological theory is probably the increasing recognition that there is something more to culture than artifacts, linguistic texts, and lists of atomized traits” ([1951] 1959, p. 89).

The current view, then, is that integration is a quality of culture that is never perfect but never absent—a structural property that varies from relatively high to relatively low and that can be related empirically and theoretically to other cultural and sociological variables. The increased realism and flexibility with which the concept is now handled has produced a more subtle conception of cultural integration as an ideological category. By the 1930s two traditions in social science converged to create what might be called the pathos of cultural integrity. A number of anthropologists, impressed by the aesthetic coherence of some of the primitive cultures they had encountered, came to view cultural integration as a touch stone of human excellence and euphoria. Edward Sapir maintained that the only culture worthy of the name is that which is “inherently harmonious, balanced, self-satisfactory …the expression of a richly varied and yet somehow unified and consistent attitude toward life …” (1924, p. 410). Others saw cultural integrity as the primary source of individual morale and vitality, of social cohesion, and of a profound outlook on life. A number of sociologists, on the other hand, took their point of departure from the ills of modern society and traced them back to cultural disorganization. The concept of culture conflict became the key to the sociological understanding of crime (Sellin 1938). Sociologists and others depicted contemporary American culture as one shot through with crippling contradictions (Bain 1935; Homey 1937; Lynd 1939). Ralph Linton proclaimed:

…what the modern world needs far more than improved production methods or even a more equitable distribution of their results is a series of mutually consistent ideas and values in which all its members can participate. Perhaps something of the sort can be developed in time to prevent the collapse which otherwise seems inevitable. If not, another “dark age” is in order…. (1936, p. 287)

Such strong views of the virtues of extreme cultural integration and the dangers of malintegration have been tempered by a number of considerations. (1) A very high degree of cultural integration may counteract other values which are important in some societies, such as creativity and novelty, or cultural pluralism. (2) While the integral growth of complex cultures is of great value, it can only be attained at the expense of the development of individual personality. As civilization advances, the conflict between “objective culture” and “subjective culture” becomes increasingly tragic (Simmel 1911). (3) As Linton himself came to stress in later years when dealing with the problems of developing areas, less tightly integrated cultures have greater adaptability; when a new culture element is introduced, “…the closer the integration, the more extensive and immediate the dislocations” ([1952] 1956, p. 86). (4) Cultures are after all not very fragile entities. Their power of persistence has impressed most observers, and they have a regenerative capacity which enables them to resolve contradictions and create new forms of order. What is experienced by a participant or observer as the disorganization and impending doom of a culture may well be simply a phase of adjustment in the process of cultural reintegration (Redfield 1941; Kroeber 1948). (5) No less significant than these substantive insights into the nature of culture has been the increasing sophistication of our method of coping with such normative problems. In accord with the level of complexity on which contemporary social science proceeds, one would no longer maintain that cultural integration as such is inherently valuable or not, but rather ask: What kind of integration of what kinds of contents has what kinds of consequences for whom?

To state the normative problem in this fashion is to return to the scientific problem of analyzing and measuring cultural integration. Contemporary approaches are marked by a great diversity with respect to the forms, processes, and consequences of cultural integration. There is further diversity with respect to the kinds of cultural contents which are referred to in the study of integration. Since the relationship among the diverse phenomena referred to by these varying notions of cultural integration is problematic, a more differentiated treatment of the concept henceforth is indicated. It is symptomatic of the gap between cultural theory and the theory of social structure that, whereas the latter has available a rich and complex conceptual framework, analysis of cultural structure still proceeds—with the notable exception of linguistics—at a level not far from common sense. In one of the most clearly reasoned classifications of types of collective integration (Landecker 1952), nine forms of social integration are distinguished, but only three forms of cultural integration. The following classification of the dimensions of cultural integration is offered as a contribution toward closing that gap.

All the scholars whose work will be reviewed here agree on two points: that culture consists of symbols and that cultural integration has reference to the relationships among these symbols. They differ with respect to (1) the kinds of symbols that are studied—the problem of the contents of culture; (2) the groups whose cultures are studied—the problem of the levels of cultural integration; and (3) the nature of the relationship between symbols—the problem of the forms of cultural integration. We begin with the last of these, since that is where most of the issues lie.

The forms of cultural integration

Configurational or thematic integration

The first type of cultural integration is that made prominent by the work of Ruth Benedict (1934). It refers to an identity of meaning within a diversity of cultural items: their conformity to a common pattern, their embodiment of a common theme. It is integration through similarity. It is illustrated by the extent to which, among the Zuni, marriage customs, dance forms, attitudes toward death, and other aspects of culture all tend to reflect a characteristic interest in sobriety, moderation, and cere-moniousness. The existence of this dimension of integration has been related to the imperative of selectivity: man’s genetic heritage is insufficient to orient him in this world and the potentialities for behavior are innumerable. Therefore, some segment of the total arc of possibilities must be selected in order to provide direction in behavior and meaning in the environment. Students using this approach differ as to whether this principle of selectivity is to be conceived of as a structure (Kluckhohn’s “configuration”), a dynamic postulate (Opler’s “theme”), or a kind of cognitive disposition (Sorokin’s “culture mentality”). They also disagree about whether the canons of choice are unconscious : Kluckhohn used the term configuration to refer specifically to structural regularities that are unconscious and defines the integrating principle of a culture as its “single dominant master configuration” (1943, p. 218), whereas Opler implicitly rejects the premise of the covertness of basic orienting themes in culture as an unnecessary restriction (1945, p. 198). An obvious method of measuring the extent of this type of integration in a culture would be to count the proportion of items which embody its posited integrating principle—a vast undertaking and one that has been attempted only once in this century. Sorokin sought to measure the extent to which various periods in the history of Western civilization were integrated in terms of the “identity of the fundamental principles and values that permeate all (their) parts” ([1937-1941] 1962, vol. 4, p. 11) by devising numerical indices to represent the extent to which the various departments of culture—painting, architecture, music, literature, philosophy, etc.—were informed by one or another kind of basic cultural mentality.

Opler recommends counting unformalized expressions of a theme as well as formalized ones, a task requiring “close observation, accounts of personal experiences, and autobiographical materials,” and also observation of “the intensity of the reaction and the character of the sanctions invoked .. .” when the terms of a theme are violated (1945, p. 201).

With respect to the consequences of configurational integration, it is evident that a very high degree of conformity of the elements of culture to a particular pattern imposes serious restrictions on the freedom of individuals who are inclined toward alternative patterns; there is little scope for the realization of variant and deviant patterns. While, moreover, it has been suggested that cultures which do not subordinate all their parts to a ruling principle give “an impression of extreme poverty” (Benedict 1934, p. 196), the point has also been made that the predominance of a single theme in a culture may have highly disruptive consequences and is to be regarded as socially pathological (Opler 1945, p. 199).

Connective integration

A second type of cultural integration concerns the extent to which the diverse parts of culture are directly connected with one another. In describing this phenomenon of the mutual association of different cultural elements, anthropologists have used terms like “connotative interdependence” (Redfield 1941, p. 352), “systemic pattern” (Kroeber 1948, p. 312), and “assemblage” (Opler 1959, p. 962); and for cultural traits which are discrete and not associated with others, the term “separates’ (Redfield 1941, p. 138). The distinction between this type of integration and that discussed in the first category may be readily illustrated: while, following Weber (1904-1905), one may say that modern Western culture is highly integrated in that its various branches—music, law, science, etc.—are all characterized by a dominant “rationalistic” culture orientation, there has been relatively little association between the worlds of music, law, and science in modern Western culture. Conversely, while there is a close association between military symbols (carrying rifles, martial chants) and devotional symbols (hymns, pious poetry) on the occasion of Ethiopian Orthodox holidays, these two sets of symbols represent directly opposed themes or configurations in Ethiopian Christian culture. In one attempt to study integration in the sense of interconnection, Red-field sought to measure this dimension of cultural organization in four Yucatecan communities by observing the number of “separates” in each. His study supported the hypothesis that connective integration is promoted by isolation and cultural homogeneity. In the relatively isolated tribal community, he found that pagan and Christian complexes were closely interwoven: “…the bee cult is under the care of the Virgin; the patronage of certain saints over certain animals is more explicit . . .” (Redfield 1941, p. 139); whereas in the less isolated peasant village, he found a greater compartmentalization of ideas—for example, “…the care of the hives and the cult of the bee deities remain pagan in nature ... no saint enters into the conceptions . . .” (ibid., p. 136).

The consequences of a high degree of cultural interconnection, Redfield proposed, are the greater efficacy of culture as a design for living, greater durability in style of life, and greater depth of the world view; whereas in the less organized culture of the town, the presumably related characteristics were found to be uncertainty, self-consciousness, restlessness and, frequently, distress. The existence of this form of integration may thus be seen as a response to man’s need for coherence. On the other hand, it seems to be clear that any sort of cultural excellence above the most primitive sort requires the presence of cultural specialists. The extent to which cultural specialization requires compartmentalization and segregation is an important question for the theory of culture, one which has not yet received the attention it deserves.

Logical integration

A third dimension of integration concerns the extent to which cultural items tend to contradict one another. This perspective defines integration not as identity or as inter locking diversity but in terms of logical consistency —a criterion that primarily affects existential beliefs and systems of norms. This type of integration is by definition a response to man’s need for rationality. While this need may not be very fully developed in relatively undifferentiated societies—the existence of such rationalized bodies of culture as philosophical systems or legal codes requires the presence of cultural specialists working under special conditions—the discomfort psychologists have come to refer to as “cognitive dissonance” (Festinger 1957) is presumably endemic in human nature. Students of logical integration have stressed the importance of distinguishing between what appears to an outsider as a logical contradiction and what is “felt as such” by those who live in the culture (Landecker 1951), or inconsistencies which “…present a dilemma with regard to attitude or overt behavior” (Redfield 1941, p. 137). A negative index of the logical integration of culture would thus be the number of experienced “incompatibles,” a variable also examined in Redfield’s study of Yucatan. Adapting Linton’s terms to the study of this phenomenon, Landecker has proposed that cultural integration be measured by (1) the number of inconsistencies among “universals” and (2) the number of inconsistencies among “specialties with societal reference.” Following a line of thought of some prominence in modern sociology, he has also hypothesized that one consequence of consistency among cultural standards is a high degree of “normative integration”: “…the higher the degree of (logical) integration among the standards of a culture is, the higher the degree of behavioral conformity to these standards will be” (1952, p. 398).

Adaptive or functional integration

The “strain of consistency” among folkways which Sumner is famous for emphasizing is not the consistency of pure logic: whatever the contradictions in a culture from the point of view of pure reason, the folkways are “true” and can make anything seem right. Sum-ner stresses rather the adaptive character of culture —traits are ways of satisfying needs—and finds that “…they all answer their several purposes with less friction and antagonism when they cooperate and support each other” (1906, sec. 5 in 1940 edition). The functional integration of culture is an outgrowth of the desire for efficiency. As Sorokin has pointed out, Pareto’s concept of “logical” action really refers not to logical consistency but to functional effectiveness ([1947] 1962, p. 340).

Although it is due to his view of culture as “essentially an instrumental apparatus” that Malinowski in his theoretical writing stresses that culture “…is an integral in which the various elements are interdependent” and rejects the notion that any culture traits can be a nonfunctional survival (1944, p. 150), students of functional integration generally have stressed the imperfections and dislocations in the organization of culture from this point of view. They tend to see changes chronically originating in the technological sector which then upset whatever functional equilibrium had previously been obtained. Because of what Sumner calls the strain of improvement toward better adaptation of means to ends and because instrumental techniques are the foundation on which the whole elaborate superstructure of culture is founded, “…societies are thus constantly trapped into accepting elements which are highly disruptive” (Lin-ton 1936, p. 356). The result is a lack of integration, a “culture lag,” which frequently becomes cumulative and so dysfunctional that sometimes revolution or war is the only way to overcome it (Ogburn 1957).

Stylistic integration

A fifth type of integration is that which emerges from the mutual adaptation of parts of experience felt so intensely that their contrasts and organization produce an emotionally gratifying whole. Its locus is those characteristic modes of behavior and manners of expression we term styles. This type of integration springs not from the rational impulse for logical consistency nor from the practical impulse for instrumental effectiveness—though these may be fused with it—but from the aesthetic impulse for authentic expression of experience in satisfying form. Spontaneity and creativity are the essence of this form of integration; “…where compulsion or physical or physiological necessity reign, there is no room for style” (Kroeber 1957, p. 150). While stylistic integration is usually associated primarily with the fine arts, styles have also been identified in such diverse spheres as social thought (Mannheim 1927), political and economic behavior (Riesman 1950), and science and philosophy (Kroeber 1948; 1957), not to mention the commonly appreciated activities of eating and dressing.

While the concept “style of life” has long been familiar to social scientists from the work of Max Weber, their investigation of stylistic integration is still in the earliest stages; they have much to learn about methods of studying style from scholars in the humanities, for whom it has naturally been a central concept. Kroeber is one of the few social scientists to have dealt at length with the problem of style outside the fine arts. His work supports the idea of applying the term “style” not only to the most diverse branches of culture but also to total cultures—not in the Spenglerian sense of considering a whole culture as a sort of expanded style but in that its several styles “…will tend to accommodate somewhat to one another; so that the whole may come … to possess a fairly high degree of congruence” (Kroeber 1957, p. 152). Such a total-culture style is what Sapir presumably had in mind in his conception of “genuine culture,” illustrated by his thumbnail characterization of French culture as marked by “the qualities of clarity, lucid systematization, balance, care in choice of means, and good taste” and also “overmechanization, emotional timidity or shallow-ness …[and] exaggeration of manner at the expense of content”; it was its lack of such a cultural style that made Sapir so critical of American culture (Sapir 1924, p. 407).

Some of Kroeber’s most stimulating work concerns the temporal dimension of stylistic integration: he argued (1944) that style patterns have specific potentialities that are realized in climactic spurts of creativity and are then exhausted, leading to their abandonment and the generation of new styles, and that periods of societal breakdown and reconstitution are accompanied by losses of style. One of the chief consequences of the attainment of a style pattern is thus the provision of a matrix of creative potentialities, and stylistic integration is the cultural substratum for the flowering of men of genius. [SeeStyle.]

Regulative integration

Common to all the approaches which have just been described is a conception of cultural integration in terms of coherence and harmony. Whether this harmony is defined as identity of pattern, connotative interdependence, logical consistency, functional appropriateness, or stylistic congruence, the point of departure is an assumption that the parts of culture tend for various reasons to be related in a harmonious way. The one-sidedness of this view becomes apparent if one considers the forms of integration in social systems; for in addition to the types of social integration based on conformity to norms, spontaneous interaction, and functional interdependence, sociologists have long recognized the importance of “integrative mechanisms” which deal directly with real or threatened eruptions of social conflict. Accordingly, any classification of forms of cultural integration which omits phenomena specifically related to the manifestation and control of cultural conflict must be considered incomplete.

Examples of three different approaches to the problem of regulative integration may be found in recent literature. (1) As observed above, Opler regards the uninhibited expression of a single theme in any culture as a disequilibrating factor. He defines integration in cultural structure in terms of the equilibrium that is achieved or approximated in most cultures by virtue of the existence of “limiting factors”—circumstances and counterthemes which control the number, force, and variety of a theme’s expressions (Opler 1945, p. 201). Thus, the theme of male superiority in Chiricahua culture is balanced by such factors as uxorilocal residence; so, while it is true that Chiricahua women may not use the sweat lodge, the sweat lodge is not considered a crucial element of their ceremonialism and, moreover, women may obtain supernatural power like men and become shamans. Regulative integration appears as a kind of balance of power among various cultural items. (2) A second type of regulation of divergent cultural patterns is through hierarchical organization. Talcott Parsons has presented highly suggestive analyses of this dimension of cultural structure in two contexts: the hierarchical arrangement of various value-orientations in a culture and the hierarchical ordering of the various types of cultural systems (1953; 1959; 1961). (3) A third example is what might be called the “moral division of labor” (Durk-heim 1897; Levine 1965). Cultural conflict is avoided by relegating divergent patterns to different segments of the population, with the implicit support by each segment of the values of the other, though overtly these may be in complete conflict. Matza’s work on youth subcultures has uncovered the interesting mechanisms of “conventional versions” (1961) and “subterranean convergence” (1964), through which deviant subcultural patterns are kept from total conflict with the dominant patterns.

Integration and the content of culture

If careful comparison of the approaches of different students of cultural integration leads to awareness of a variety of forms or dimensions of cultural integration, a survey of recent work in the field quickly reveals that our perception of what it is that becomes integrated has become no less differentiated. One aspect of this differentiation concerns the diversity of concrete cultures; another concerns the differentiation of analytically distinguishable systems within concrete cultures.

Just as a principal accomplishment of anthropologists working in the 1920s was to replace the generic study of culture by the study of particular cultures, so has the generation of social scientists working in the middle of this century rendered obsolete the concept of an undifferentiated particular culture and demanded the discrimination of various subcultures within any whole culture. Sociologists have identified and described in detail a number of persisting and coherent subcultures in the United States—including those borne by social classes (Warner 1949), ethnic groups (Glazer & Moynihan 1963), age groups (Matza 1961), and many others. Political scientists have found important differences between the subcultures of elites and masses in various nations (Pye & Verba 1965). Anthropologists who have moved from the study of relatively small, isolated societies to more complex societies have found it necessary to distinguish between segmental cultures and national cultures (Steward 1955) or between little traditions and great traditions (Redfield 1956). The call has been sounded for students of cultural integration in complex societies to take explicit account of such internal differentiation in making their analyses (Aberle 1950).

A fivefold schema, based on that proposed by Landecker, would seem adequate to handle the kinds of problems posed by that requirement. “…the first and most obvious structural distinction relevant to a complex group is that between the group as a whole and a smaller group within it. It will be terminologically convenient to call the larger group, when seen as a whole, the ’ compound-group,’ and to call the smaller group …the ’subgroup’” (Landecker 1952, p. 394). The proposed distinction is relative: the same group may be viewed now as a compound-group, now as a subgroup that exists within a much larger group. This distinction generates five questions concerning the cultural integration of complex groups:

(1) Intrinsic subgroup (cultural) integration—the extent to which the subgroup culture is internally integrated;

(2) Extrinsic subgroup integration, horizontal—the extent to which one subgroup culture is integrated with another;

(3) Extrinsic subgroup integration, vertical—the extent to which a subgroup culture is integrated with the compound-group culture;

(4) Compound-group integration, horizontal—the extent to which culture at the compound-group level is integrated; and

(5) Compound-group integration, vertical—the extent to which the total compound-group culture, including its subgroup cultures, is integrated.

This classification would of course be crosscut by that outlined in the preceding section on the forms of integration.

Another type of differentiation to which students of culture have become increasingly sensitive concerns the different kinds of symbol systems within a given subculture. While this area of cultural theory exists in a state of flux, one of the more prominent classifications divides culture into belief systems, normative systems, and systems of expressive symbolism; these in turn have been further subdivided. The analysis of cultural integration from this perspective focuses on the internal coherence of a particular symbol system and its relations with other analytic systems of action. Two categories of problems emerge at once: (1) intra-systemic problems—the degree of integration among the parts of a particular symbol system, say, the empirical beliefs or the expressive symbols of a given subculture; and (2) intersystemic problems—the degree of integration among two or more types of symbol system. The latter category would include such classical problems as Weber’s concern about the relationship between ultimate ideas about reality and practical ethics in the world religions and Mannheim’s concern about the relationship between empirical beliefs and systems of value orientations. Beyond this, there are the many problems having to do with the integration of symbol systems with the other dimensions of action, social systems, and personalities; but at this point the study of cultural integration itself dissolves as a boundary-maintaining system and becomes fused with such complex pursuits as the psychology of knowledge, cultural psychology, and the sociology of culture.

It may simply be noted here that earlier theories which treated cultural integration as epiphenom-enal—reducing it to a function of the rationalization of class interests or the projection of psychological impulses—have given way to a growing awareness that the emergent properties of cultural systems themselves include integrative problems of a distinct order.

Donald N. Levine

[Directly related are the entriesConflict; Culture; Social Structure. Other relevant material may be found in the biographies ofBenedict; Kroeber; Redfield; Sapir; Sorokin.]


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The fitting together of the parts of a social system to constitute a whole has long been a matter of both practical and scientific interest. Historically, the often disruptive effects of the industrial revolution have directed attention to the practical problems of maintaining social integration or achieving reintegration. Both societies and communities have tried to ward off fragmentation or to recapture effective unity once fragmentation has occurred. Scientifically, there are both definitional and theoretical challenges. Is social integration one-dimensional, or is it a phenomenon having a number of facets? What are the useful criteria for judging whether it is present or absent? No questions are more basic, since to deal with social units at all is to be able to distinguish units from non-units, and this requires some notion of integration. Once the problem of conceptualization is settled, there are the far-reaching theoretical problems of the causes of high and low degrees of integration and of their effects on a great variety of other social phenomena.

Social integration is problematic at many levels, from the small group to the society. Although analytically each level may be treated separately, in real life the same group is usually a matter of concern on two levels. On a lower level it is a whole whose parts require integration, but at the next higher level it is a part that is more or less well integrated into some larger whole. Communities, for instance, have their own problems of integration, but they constitute elements in the integrative problem of their society. This article will treat only large social systems, such as cities, whole societies, and international communities; integration in small social systems is treated elsewhere [seeCohesion, Social].

Types of integration

The tendency in recent sociology has been to differentiate types of integration rather than to make the concept unidimen-sional. As Landecker points out in a seminal article (1951), it is useful in the early stages of exploration to determine the relation to one another of different facets of a phenomenon and thus to discover the degree to which it is unified. He distinguishes the following four types of integration: cultural, or the consistency among cultural standards; normative, or the consistency between cultural standards and the conduct of persons; communicative, or the extent to which the network of communication permeates the social system; and functional, or the degree to which there is mutual interdependence among the units of a system of division of labor. Here the last three types of integration will be regarded as subsumed by social integration. Since the distinction between cultural systems and social systems was not widely made before 1951 (Parsons & Shils 1951; Parsons 1951), analyses before that date that deal with the integration of sociocultural systems as wholes will also be discussed.

Durkheim‘ s contributions. The great pioneer in the study of social integration was Durkheim (1893). Picking up two ideas that go far back in the history of social thought, he presented two contrasting types, the first of which is a combination of cultural and normative integration and the second of which is functional integration.

What he called “mechanical solidarity” is the integration of parts through common values and beliefs. These values and beliefs constitute a collective conscience that enables persons and groups to cooperate successfully. In positing this conscience, Durkheim took for granted, without clear proof, both the congruence of the cultural standards and their effective internalization in persons. Since the members of the society express the collective conscience in the same way, just as the molecules in a solid express its fundamental property, he thought the term “mechanical solidarity” appropriate.

In contrast to mechanical solidarity, Durkheim distinguished “organic solidarity,” which is integration through interdependence: the parts of the whole reciprocate services as do the parts of an organism. Durkheim believed that the central contribution of his treatise was the demonstration that the division of labor, which is usually considered only an economic fact, is also a moral fact. Duties spring from the necessary cooperation of specialists—not just the duties specified in a contract, but the legitimate expectations with respect to means, quality of performance, and the like.

Although Durkheim was interested in the integration of the social system, he used two elements of the cultural system—the amount of repressive law and the amount of restitutive law—as indexes of the relative importance of the two types of integration. His theory is that to the degree that the system is one in which persons act alike, there is repressive law; to the degree that it is a system of reciprocating differences, there is restitutive law. He concluded that organic solidarity is becoming proportionately more important as civilization advances, since restitutive law is increasing while repressive law is decreasing.

Sorokin‘s approach. A very different distinction between two types of integration in the sociocultural system is that of Sorokin (1937-1941). Although his emphasis is mainly on cultural integration, one of his types—the “causal-functional” —-is concerned with the operative interdependence of cultural elements in the ongoing social system; thus it includes both cultural and functional integration, according to Landecker’s usage of these terms. The causal-functional type recalls Sumner’s “strain of consistency” among folkways (1906, p. 5). Sorokin did not carry his analysis of this type far, since he believed it inferior to the second type of integration, the “logico-meaningful.” Later analysts among sociologists have preferred to think of functional integration as occurring among roles, groups, or institutions in the social system rather than among elements of culture. Sorokin’s logico-meaningful type of integration is purely cultural, since it refers to the degree to which cultural elements reflect a central theme or principle. This type of integration was extensively explored through history by Sorokin and became one of the facets of the work of other students of cultural integration.

Later theoretical approaches

Subsequent to Sorokin’s work, the separation of normative and functional integration from cultural integration became clearer, and a concern for communicative integration appeared. Analyses related to each of these three will be taken up in turn.

Normative integration

A central motif of Parsons’ work (1937; 1951; 1960) has been the analysis of normative integration. According to his theory, such integration is achieved when the focal elements in the cultural system—the society’s common values—are institutionalized in structural elements of the social system. This occurs at three levels. Most general in application are norms that apply to categories of persons, such as men and women. Less general are the normative controls of collectivities, such as business enterprises and schools. Finally, there are structured roles within collectivities, for example, mother, father, teacher, pupil. Sanctions exist at each of the three levels, as well as the specifications of correct conduct.

There is evidence, however, that normative integration of large systems is not supported exclusively by the normative integration of their subsystems. One of the findings of a study of the German Wehrmacht in World War II by Shils and Janowitz (1948) was that a prime factor in the adherence to national military norms was the social cohesion of basic units like squads. Grod-zins (1956, p. 29) found evidence of the same influence of small groups in the patriotism of Englishmen. This sense of fellowship is different from any of the types of integration discussed in this article, since it depends upon person-to-person relations [seeCohesion, Social].

Because so little research has been done on normative integration, there is little theory that relates it to other aspects of the social system. Folk wisdom has long assumed that external opposition tends to increase the adherence to societal norms because of fears for the society’s survival. This proposition seems to be true, however, only above a certain level of integration already achieved; if the parts of the whole are weakly involved in a collective conscience, outside opposition may destroy the collectivity rather than strengthen it. With respect to internal factors, most students assume that normative integration tends to vary inversely with the size of the society, because of the greater difficulties of adequate internalization of societal norms in complex societies. However, because of the inadequacy of measuring devices, there is no proof that this is true. Again, although leadership is widely believed to make a difference, there are no data on its relationship to normative integration, except for studies of very small groups [seeLeadership].

There is an equal paucity of theory about the effect of different levels of normative integration on other phenomena. Many believe that a high degree of it is a “good thing”: that it promotes social stability, gives meaning to life, and ensures the survival of the system. Others are more skeptical, pointing out that deviance from norms is sometimes creative and that too firm a moral order may lead to lack of adaptability under changing circumstances. Ryan and Straus (1954), for instance, claim that the loose structure of Sinhalese society, with much tolerance of normative deviation, is not a handicap to its integration.

Functional integration

Since the time of Durk-heim, the development of the concept of functional integration has been entangled with the discussion of functionalism in anthropology and sociology. If it is assumed, as has been done by some anthropologists, that the specialized parts of society that survive in the course of evolution are making a positive contribution to the social system, then functional integration is not problematic; it is there by the very nature of the processes of social selection. Since each part is contributing to the welfare of the same whole, all the parts are making reciprocal contributions to one another. However, most sociologists do not take this position. Merton (1949), for instance, holds that each part probably contributes a net balance of functional consequences to the whole; but the dysfunctional consequences obscured by the net positive balance may render the relationship between particular parts anything but beneficial. Thus a chemical plant that brings prosperity to a community by the wages it pays may so pollute the air as seriously to endanger the health of patients in a nearby hospital. In such a case functional integration is weak.

Even the assumption of a net balance of functional consequences is not a necessary one. According to those who take an extremely nominalist view of society, the parts may or may not complement one another; there is no truly organic whole, and functional integration is therefore not essential. Much the same skepticism about the universality of functional integration is evidenced by conflict theorists like Dahrendorf (1957), for whom functional integration would have to be empirically proven to exist in each instance. Whether such proof is essential or not, empirical research using the concept of functional integration cannot be done without having clear criteria for measuring it. As Landecker points out (1951, p. 338) at least two criteria are involved: the degree of specialization and the degree of interdependence. Little work has been done on measuring either.

Most writers have assumed that social integration is equivalent to equilibrium—if not static, then moving. Gouldner (1959) challenges this assumption, at least for functional integration. He states that parts have some tendency toward functional autonomy and that therefore the system’s inclination toward integration creates tension. According to this view, equilibrium thus requires the insulation as well as the integration of parts; if a system has insufficient insulating mechanisms, increasing integration may lead to strife among parts and thus to disequilibrium. Gouldner (1960) makes a more fundamental point about the reciprocal relations that functional integration presupposes: that the contribution of any two parts to each other is often far from equal and that, because of superior power, one may be exploiting the other. He regards this situation as unstable, however, because he believes a norm of reciprocity tends to develop, requiring something like a fair exchange. Following Gouldner’s argument, one can infer that functional integration requires adherence to this norm of reciprocity and hence is related to, if not dependent on, normative integration.

Parsons approaches the same conclusion in a different way (1960). In an essay on Durkheim he approves the distinction between mechanical and organic solidarity and hence between normative and functional integration as a fruitful one, but he states that they are connected at a higher level in a manner that Durkheim did not appreciate. Parsons suggests that mechanical solidarity is the expression of common values through the collectivity that is called government. Organic solidarity, on the other hand, derives from the economy—from its norms of property, contract, market relations, and the like. Thus organic solidarity is ultimately dependent on common values, just as is mechanical solidarity. Here Parsons seems to be subsuming functional integration under normative integration by asserting that interdependence is not integrative unless there are norms that control its operation. He does not, however, subordinate organic solidarity to mechanical solidarity, since they are at the same level of institutionalization. He coins the term “diffuse solidarity” to express attachment to common values and to represent the higher category in which they both are subsumed. What the social structure is that realizes diffuse solidarity is not clear from Parsons’ account.

Parsons’ reshaping of Durkheim’s scheme makes it more consistent with Durkheim’s own later work (1912), where there is every indication that he no longer believed that mechanical solidarity was becoming proportionately weaker and organic solidarity stronger. Actually, Durkheim had great difficulty in supporting this proposition when, in the preface to the second edition of The Division of Labor in Society, he tried to indicate how organic solidarity was bound to develop through occupational groups.

Although there is a rich literature on functional analysis, there is little work on the concept of functional integration and even less on its relations to other variables. Human ecologists have been interested in a general way in the causes of high degrees of functional integration and in its effects, but they have not yet provided a satisfactory way of measuring it so that research can proceed. Most of the variables that are thought to conduce to functional integration are not passive conditions but rather rational and purposive actions, such as conducting and applying manpower studies, and regional planning.

Theories about the effects of functional integration are few. One theory—which is almost tautological, since the result is implied in the definition —is that an increase in functional integration will lessen inefficiency and waste. There is little or no theory about the effects of functional integration other than its economic consequences.

Communicative integration

Among those who have been interested in communicative integration are the sociologists Wirth and Shils and the political scientist Deutsch. Wirth shows the importance of the mass media in achieving consensus in modern democracies. However, he sees communicative means as only one causal factor in that consensus.

Consensus is supported and maintained not merely by the ties of interdependence and by a common cultural base, by a set of institutions embodying the settled traditions of the people, and the norms and standards that they imply and impose, not merely by the living together and dealing with one another, but also, and not least important, by the continuing currents of mass communication, which in turn rest for their meaning-fulness and effectiveness upon the pre-existence of some form of a society, which hold that society together and mobilize it for continuous concerted action. (1948, p. 10)

Shils carries the idea a step further, arguing that through the mass media the center and the periphery of modern societies are more closely attached to each other than ever before. He believes that the mutual sense of responsibility thus engendered—which he calls “civility”—represents a new level of consensus: “The mass society is not the most peaceful or ‘orderly’society that has ever existed; but it is the most consensual” (1962, p. 53). To Shils the connection between the periphery and the center largely consists in the attachment of the masses to the central institutional and value system of the society. The communicative factor is thus seen as closely associated with the normative factor.

Deutsch (1953), more consistently than any other social scientist, employs the communication model pioneered by electrical engineers and psychologists [seeInformation theory]. Although he does not explicitly use the term “communicative integration,” his treatment of the concept of nationalism clearly implies it. According to Deutsch, the formation of a “community” by the people of a nation depends on the degree to which they are assimilated (have a common language and a common culture for fidelity in communication) and are mobilized (reached by the mass media and thus capable of national participation). These are concepts that can be applied to collectivities other than nations.

Deutsch’s analysis is persuasive because, if it can be accepted, the communication model might serve to bring together the rather disparate concepts of normative and functional integration. However, the difficulty is that there is much evidence that communication alone is not sufficient to achieve social integration. Units in the same communicative net that understand each other very well do not always cooperate; bitter political battles within a culturally homogeneous and highly educated country would otherwise not occur. It appears that communicative integration may be a necessary, but is not a sufficient, condition of social integration.

If Deutsch’s concepts of assimilation and mobilization are accepted as defining communicative integration, the immediate causes of high degrees of integration are fairly obvious—a common and rich set of symbols and access by all to the mass media. The conditions under which these immediate causes are produced, however, have not been adequately studied, although Deutsch has set forth a number of hypotheses. On the side of the effects of communicative integration, Deutsch is chiefly concerned with the greater efficacy of the policy-forming process that a high degree of integration makes possible. But it must be stressed that communicative integration is only the capability of acting together, not the actuality.

Connections between subtypes

In addition to the causes and effects of integration of the three types dealt with, there is the question of how these three, together with cultural integration, affect one another. Landecker (1952) poses this as an important research problem and offers some interesting hypotheses. One of them is that low communicative integration is associated with low normative integration, at least in modern cities. It is known that anomie is associated with crime, and it can be argued that anomie is a symptom of low communicative integration. But the last connection needs to be demonstrated by research.

The question can be raised whether all the phenomena that deserve inclusion under the concept of social integration can be allocated to one or another of the types. What of the legislative and judicial bodies of modern societies? Are not their activities conflict-resolving and therefore integra-tive? To the extent that judges merely apply existing law, they are helping to ensure that conduct conforms to cultural standards. But legislatures are creating new law, and to a degree judges also perform a creative role. This function does not fall explicitly under any of Landecker’s types as defined. It seems more closely related to normative integration than to the others, because new standards are being created to bring conduct into line with the ultimate values of the society (Angell 1958). But it could be argued that there can be similar problem solving both in the network of communication, as when desegregation breaks down communicative barriers, and in the functional integration of the system, as when new balancing mechanisms are worked out. Perhaps the best way to incorporate such phenomena in an integrative schema is to recognize a dynamic aspect of each type of integration that copes with changed conditions in a systematic way.

Empirical studies of social integration

The amount of thought that has gone into the verbal definition and refinement of concepts of social integration is altogether disproportionate to the amount of empirical research that has been devoted to testing hypotheses. This may be because potential investigators see the integration of large social systems as too global a phenomenon to be amenable to research; but a more likely reason is that a prerequisite type of research—the discovery of the best operational definition for a given concept—has rarely been attempted. It is not at all obvious how a concept like functional integration should be operationalized. Until the various operational definitions have been compared on the basis of their congruence to the intuitive idea, the most effective definition cannot be chosen, nor can the concept be standardized. It is perhaps significant that there have been only two ambitious empirical studies of social integration and that both of them have wrestled with this problem as a preliminary to the testing of hypotheses.

Angell (1951) studied the integration of American cities from the normative standpoint; his aims were to compare the degree of normative integration of 42 cities and to discover the causes of the differences. A measure of integration was derived by combining an index of the rate of crime (reversed) with a positive index of the devotion of the citizens to the community (using community fund figures), and it was validated by testing its covariance with a number of other indicators of normative integration, such as suicides, illegitimate births, and deaths from venereal disease. The integration scores for each city were then correlated with other data. Two causal factors were discovered, unrelated to each other, that in combination yielded a coefficient of —.79 with normative integration. These factors were the heterogeneity of the population in terms of racial stock and national background, and the rate of in- and out-migration of the population. Sample surveys conducted later in four of the cities confirmed the results and pointed to three other factors of probable significance for normative integration—the structure of community leadership, the amount of emphasis given to the community in the schools, and the amount of such emphasis in the churches.

The ambitious study of integration by Deutsch and his associates (1957) focuses on communicative integration, although it has overtones of both normative and functional integration. In this study Deutsch’s general approach to integration that was developed at the national level (1953) is carried to the international level. Thus he seeks to throw light on the causes of that high degree of integration among states that brings them into a so-called “security community,” where the resort to large-scale physical force becomes unthinkable. Historical evidence on ten cases of the formation of security communities in the North Atlantic area is carefully analyzed.

Deutsch et al. define integration as “…the attainment, within a territory, of a ‘sense of community’ and of institutions and practices strong enough and widespread enough to assure, for a ‘long’ time, dependable expectations of ’ peaceful change’ among its population” (1957, p. 5). The research itself fleshes out the skeletal concept in terms of such indicators as mutual sympathy and loyalties; “we-feeling,” trust and mutual consideration; partial identification in terms of self-images and interests; mutually successful predictions of behavior; and cooperative action in accordance with such predictions. All of these concepts are reminiscent of the indicators of integration in small groups and clearly stem from an outlook based in communication theory.

Although Deutsch did not set up specific hypotheses about causal factors, his findings suggest that the data were looked at in terms of communicative integration. The causal factors are grouped into the precedent conditions on the one hand and the characteristics of the movement toward integration on the other. Two prior conditions for integration are emphasized. The first is the compatibility of major values relevant to political decision making. This does not mean that all important values must be similar; those that may be different, such as religious values, may have been made compatible by being “depoliticized.” Nevertheless, there is an element of normative integration here as well as of communicative integration. The other important condition is the capacity of the governments concerned to respond to one another’s needs, messages, and actions quickly, adequately, and without resort to violence (there is a hint of functional integration here, since the needs are said to be differentiated). This capacity depends upon the existence of habits and institutions that insure that messages will be understood and given weight in the decision-making process. The reasoning here appears to be somewhat circular, since integration itself would create such habits and institutions. Finally, in discussing the dynamics of a movement toward political integration, the authors stress the importance of intellectuals and the bridges they build, of the mobility of populations, and of the feeling of a shared way of life.

Future prospects

One must conclude that the states of conceptualization, of operationalization, and of research-validated theory on social integration are all unsatisfactory. Although the concept has here been subdivided into three types—normative, functional, and communicative—and these treated separately, there is little consensus among scholars that this is the best way to proceed.

Of the three types, the concept of normative integration is best defined, thanks largely to the work of Parsons, but even it is somewhat unclear. The concept of functional integration is rudimentary, since no one is certain what slice of reality it represents; there is merely a belief that the division of labor is an integrative phenomenon. As for communicative integration, the meaning of the concept is quite clear—the interconnection of all parts of the system by serviceable channels over which understandable messages flow—but the question remains whether this is not a means to, rather than a kind of, integration. It is small wonder that the connections between such ill-defined subtypes are themselves unclear. The only tentative move toward an ordering is Parsons’suggestion of diffuse solidarity as equivalent to social integration (since it subsumes mechanical and organic solidarity and presumably would subsume communicative integration too).

Perhaps the key weakness in research on integration is the failure of most scholars to express their criteria clearly and to specify the operations for judging the degree of their fulfillment. Hypotheses regarding the causes or the effects of any sort of integration cannot be tested until this is done. Hence the paucity of research results on which theory can be built.

Social integration, then, remains a central concept in the minds of many, but it is a concept that so far has borne little fruit. Time will tell which of two alternatives is to be the destiny of the concept. Either it will fall into disuse because social scientists find the idea too broad and encompassing for a scientific concept, or it will enlist scientific devotees who will shape it and make it useful in the development of sound theory.

Robert Cooley Angell

[Directly related are the entriesCooperation; Systems Analysis, article onsocial systems. Other relevant material may be found inecology,article onhuman ecology; Functional analysis; Planning, social, article onregional and urban planning; and in the biographies ofDurkheim; Sorokin; Sumner.]


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Deutsch, Karl W. 1953 Nationalism and Social Communication: An Inquiry Into the Foundations of Nationality. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press; New York: Wiley.

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Integration is the process by which individuals and groups come to interact freely and equally in society without regard to distinctions of skin color. In a completely racially integrated society, no systemic or institutional discrimination exists against the members of any racial group. Even if economic and cultural differences exist, these do not decrease access to employment, housing, politics, health, public services, and recreation for any racial group. Integration has both formal and substantive dimensions. Formal integration is based on principles, laws, and symbols that represent equality and nondiscrimination. Substantive integration involves the implementation (or actualization) of integration laws and is reflected in the significant and sustained incorporation of minority groups into the economic, political, and social institutions of the larger society.

By contrast, segregation describes a situation in which members of different racial groups rarely come into contact with one another or interact as social equals. Under segregation, separation along racial lines applies to nearly all aspects of life and those contacts between racial groups that do occur are socially controlled. Social distance is reflected in a color line that clearly demarcates dominant and subordinate groups. Segregation may vary from de jure forms, which are overt, formal, and written into law, to de facto forms that are covert coded, and informal and exist independently of the law. In the United States, Jim Crow de jure segregation was dominant from the end of Reconstruction up until the early 1960s. In the North and West, however, de facto segregation based on custom and institutional discrimination was more prevalent.

Desegregation is the legal remedy used to bring about reforms in previously segregated institutions (Clark 1953, p. 2). While desegregation is often associated with racial balance and racial mixing, and is necessary for the achievement of integration, it alone is not sufficient to bring about racial integration. First, while desegregation meets the expectations of formal integration in that it follows the letter of the law, it does not meet those requirements of substantive integration that come closer to the spirit of the law. Formal integration places the burden of integrating on the disadvantaged group and is commonly accomplished through token efforts. Secondly, desegregation does not necessitate that people in the reformed institutions interact freely and equally and without discrimination. Resegregation can occur with desegregation. For example, efforts to desegregate schools may result in white flight or the establishment of different tracks in schools, with disadvantaged racial groups disproportionately assigned to lower tracks. Third, the implementation of desegregation tends to be uneven and is influenced by the history, culture, and politics of different regions and communities and the salience of local color lines.


Racial segregation existed as both the spirit and letter of the law in the United States from the end of Reconstruction through the early postWorld War II years. In 1896 the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson declared racial segregation constitutional so long as public facilities were separate but equal. The development of a system of Jim Crow segregation, built on dominant American beliefs in white supremacy, was socially reproduced in institutions, organizations, and daily folkways and mores. Discrimination restricted most black Americans that remained in the South to farm, domestic, and unskilled labor, and disproportionately subjected them to involuntary servitude in the form of convict labor. Indentured jobs and union membership were mostly closed to blacks, and when blacks were hired they were often used as strikebreakers. Blacks also suffered economic discrimination when it came to securing land, credit, and public relief and social welfare. The disenfranchisement of most blacks from voting and jury selection occurred as a consequence of violence, lynching, intimidation, white-only primaries, and poll taxes. Segregation and discrimination also extended to public schools, libraries, churches, recreational facilities, transportation, and other public accommodations.

Rationales for integrationist policy eventually emerged in response to sociopolitical changes brought about by World War II and the cold war, and as a result of the growing struggle for racial equality. As the United States entered World War II and the moral and ideological imperatives of fighting against German fascism and Nazi racial doctrines became increasingly evident, American leaders turned to inclusive egalitarian values to justify the war. Black leaders, black newspapers, and civil rights organizations called for a Double V Campaignfor victory against both fascism abroad and racism at home. The large-scale military and economic mobilization of the United States during World War II and the early years of the cold war involved a significant number of black Americans, both in the military and in civilian society. Black Americans struggled against the segregation and discrimination that continued during wartime, as evidenced by A. Phillip Randolphs March on Washington Movement (1941), which sought to end discrimination in defense industries, and by a campaign that threatened to mount civil disobedience protests against the segregation of the armed forces (1948). President Franklin D. Roosevelts signing of Executive Order 8802 (1941), which prohibited discrimination in industries receiving federal defense contracts, and President Harry Trumans signing of Executive Order 9981 (1948), which integrated the armed forces, represented victories for these protest movements and provided precedents for substantive economic integration (Bennett 2003).

In the postwar period, the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union and the international struggle to win the allegiance of newly independent non-white nations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas led to the articulation of enlarged moral and ideological imperatives favorable to racial equality. The convergence between these imperatives and the continuing struggles of black Americans and civil rights organizations against segregation and discrimination resulted in Supreme Court decisions and federal policies fostering integration (Klinkner 1999; Klarman 2004). Justifications for integration and desegregation policies also derived from practical considerations. By the cold war years, the cost of maintaining separate but equal schools and other facilities in the South had mounted substantially and was becoming increasingly impractical. Equalization strategies that were successfully used by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the 1930s and 1940s forced many Southern districts that wanted to maintain legal segregation to duplicate services and overspend on resources (McNeil 1983).

Those seeking to develop rationales for the implementation of integrationist policies were forced to consider two competing models of governance. A strong and centralized federal government with the ability to enact and forcefully implement civil rights laws was viewed as necessary by a coalition of liberal politicians and civil rights organizations who believed that only such a force could undo the historic and continuing effects of segregation and discrimination. It was recognized that reforms in segregation laws would open up the opportunity structure and improve the social and economic status of black Americans (Myrdal 1944; Clark 1953). Another, older conception of how racial justice might be achieved argued for reliance on local governments (i.e., states rights), and emphasized that states and local areas, rather than the federal government, should determine the appropriateness of laws concerning the functioning of institutions, including the color line. This conservative and segregationist coalition argued that only when the local folkways and mores had accepted the imperatives of racial equality should integration and desegregation occur.

The landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954) illustrates the attempt to balance these competing conceptions of governance and, in effect, to reconcile integration and segregation. The Supreme Courts invalidation of the separate but equal doctrine with respect to school segregation provided arguments that formally initiated school desegregation. With respect to implementation, however, the Supreme Court ordered no immediate remedy and deferred reargument until the following year (1955). The Supreme Court endorsed a gradual transition to desegregation (with all deliberate speed) that took local conditions into account and was sensitive to the flexibility of traditional principles of equitableness. The justices reasoned that immediate desegregation was unenforceable, impractical, and would lead to violence and school closures. President Eisenhower and the Justice Department supported a decentralized approach that would allow district court judges to return to the case and reargue it with limited guidance. By contrast, civil rights organizations such as the NAACP had urged complete and immediate desegregation (Klarman 2004).

Justification for integrationist policies also derived from the convergence between cold war domestic politics of the Great Society and the heightened mobilization of the civil rights movement during the early 1960s. The sustained mobilization of local organizing committees and movement organizations such as the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Council, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, along with the organized and sometimes violent resistance of local white institutional actors and communities, brought to Americas consciousness the contradiction between democratic ideals and continued segregation and discrimination. The enactment and implementation of integrationist policies signified that the goals of the civil rights movement were legitimate and had been metand that it was thus no longer necessary to mobilize demonstrations and protests. Minimalist conceptions of integration emphasized the principle of each individual being judged only by the content of their character and not by racial, ethnic, or religious distinctions.

The integration policies enacted during the 1960s comprised the most sweeping civil rights legislation in American history. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed to target and prohibit all aspects of discrimination: voter discrimination (Titles I and VIII), public accommodation discrimination (Title II), public facilities segregation (Title III), segregation of educational facilities (Title IV), and employment discrimination (Title VII). It also mandated Civil Rights Commission investigations (Title IV) and established various federally assisted programs (Title VI). Resistance in several Southern states to ending voter discrimination was met head on by the mobilization of civil rights organizations, which resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This allowed federal registrars to take over the voter registration process in areas where past discrimination existed and oversee the polls on elections. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination in housing, followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Implementation of nondiscrimination policies depended on the voluntary actions of private-sector corporations, businesses, and firms, on public-sector bureaucracies and agencies, and on federal enforcement agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP). The policy of prohibiting racial discrimination in the employment practices of businesses that hold contracts with the government was formally strengthened with President John Kennedys issuing of Executive Order 1375, which established an obligation on the part of federal contractors not only to refrain from discrimination but also to undertake affirmative action to ensure that equal employment principles are followed. The implementation of affirmative action as governmental policy took root under President Richard Nixons administration as the Philadelphia Plan. The governments motivation for pursuing the Philadelphia Plan was largely political, as the policy was designed to drive a wedge between the civil rights community and organized labor (Klinkner 1999, p. 294). As affirmative action evolved it came to encompass various programs and measures to improve the educational, employment, and business opportunities of racial minorities, women, and other socially disadvantaged groups.


Integration affirmed the principles of democracy and equality and sought the progressive inclusion of black Americans into the institutions and organizations of American society. As with nondiscrimination policies, the implementation of integration policies depended in practice on the voluntary actions of private-sector corporations and businesses, on public-sector bureaucracies, and on federal enforcement agencies. At the same time, federal court decisions mandating school desegregation were constrained by cautious gradualism, the persistence of localism and states rights governance, and high levels of racial segregation in the largest cities, where blacks were increasingly living. Federal integration policies had their most immediate impact in the South, where there was a history of de jure segregation.

While the effects of integration were immediately evident in the desegregation of public accommodations and the extension of voting rights, these advances did not translate into economic integration (or economic rights). After 1965 Martin Luther King increasingly emphasized the goal of achieving economic equality, which, he argued, would derive from: (1) the refocusing of macroeconomic policy from military-industrial spending and the Vietnam War to domestic economic spending and the poor; (2) improving black economic competitiveness through education and training; and (3) blacks leveraging their buying power by boycotting specific goods and services (King 1968). Kings opposition to the Vietnam War and his support for the Memphis garbage-workers strike and the Poor Peoples Campaign were intertwined with his advocacy of economic rights. Since the late 1960s, civil rights organizations have followed Kings lead by embracing affirmative action, set-asides, moral covenant policies, and minority franchises (Walker 1998).

That integration was a dream deferred was made evident by the Kerner Commissions report, which warned that America was increasingly becoming two societies: one black, and living in the central cities; the other white, and living in the suburbs (National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1968). Integrations inability to address the social and economic conditions of the black masses and continuing conflicts between blacks and whites over education, jobs, housing, and the police led to the emergence of separatist and nationalist movements during the 1960s. Malcolm X, a national spokesman for the Nation of Islam, argued that black nationalism and separatism, rather than integration, were necessary for black empowerment and social improvement. Within segregated communities and ghettos, blacks were challenged to develop a sense of history, social consciousness, and solidarity and to support black institutions and organizations that would enable freedom and self-determination (Breitman 1990). The emergence of the black power movement signaled the fact that instead of embracing integration, blacks were increasingly closing ranks and seeking to control political and other institutions in black communities. At the same time that it criticized integration and black liberal coalitions, the black power movement introduced the concept of institutional racism to identify the complex intersection between institutional actions, cultural beliefs, and policies that contribute to the subordination of blacks (Carmichael and Hamilton 1967).

While federal policies of integration and desegregation began to reshape race relations in the South, in the North and West there was much less recognition on the part of white Americans that racism, discrimination, and segregation existed.


The introduction of federal programs intended to foster integration was largely initiated during the cold war years of the 1960s. During the postcivil rights years of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the declining significance of cold war ideological and moral imperatives and of New Deal coalitions in national Democratic Party politics was accompanied by the rise of increasingly conservative political and social movements urging resistance to integration and racial equality. While the universal principles of integration were widely embraced, programs to implement integration and desegregation were frequently resisted (Schuman, Steeh, Bobo, and Krysan 1997).

The retreat from racial equality and the dismantling of programs intended to foster desegregation and integration have taken several forms. First, institutions such as the Supreme Court have retreated from strong interpretations of school desegregation, minority set-asides, and affirmative action. At the same time, federal agencies such as the EEOC and the Fair Employment Practices Committee have been weakened by diminished funding. Second, in policy discussions and popular discourse affirmative action and integration programs are being redefined as reverse discrimination. Although affirmative action applies to protected classes defined not only by race, but also by gender, age, and disability, and although enforcement of gender-based affirmative action largely surpass race-based enforcement, the discourse of reverse discrimination largely relates to the politics of racial resentment. Third, white Americans perceptions and beliefs concerning race-based economic inequality are more likely to emphasize individualistic explanations than structural or systemic explanations (Kluegel and Smith 1986; Kluegel 1990).

Despite important civil rights reforms such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and affirmative action, racial segregation continues to socially structure housing, education, the workforce, and other social institutions and organizations. Racial segregation remains a widespread social relationship, practice, and symbol of racial and ethnic inequality in American society. Continued patterns of segregation experienced by racial minority groups symbolize and actualize the lower social status of these groups in the social hierarchy and their limited access to opportunities and resources connected to the American Dream.

During the postcivil rights years, high levels of black segregation have continued despite small but steady decreases in segregation in those metropolitan areas with the largest black populations. Sociologists use a segregation index to measure the degree of segregation, ranging from 0 for full integration to 100 for complete segregation. In 2000 the average black-white segregation index in U.S. metropolitan areas was 65, and in the Northeast and Midwest it was 74 (Iceland, Weinberg, and Steinmetz 2002). Based on a multidimensional construct of segregation with five dimensions of spatial variabilityevenness, isolation, clustering, and concentrationand scores of at least 60 on four of the five dimensions, twenty metropolitan areas were identified as hypersegregated. Together, these contained roughly eleven million black Americans (in 1990) and constituted 36 percent of the entire U.S. black population (Massey and Denton 1993).

Hispanic segregation in metropolitan areas has been more moderate, with average scores ranging from 46 to 55 (between 1970 and 1990) (Denton and Massey 1988), and Asian segregation has been relatively lower than both black and Hispanic levels (averaging from 36 to 44 between 1970 and 1990) (Massey 2001, pp. 407409). One of the most salient features of segregation is the concentration of blacks in central cities and whites in suburbs.

Racial segregation tends to be socially reproduced across institutional contexts. Individuals in racial groups who are segregated in one institutional areawhether in housing, education, employment, criminal justice, or informal social interactionsare also likely to have mostly segregated experiences in other institutional environments.

The persistence of internal segregation in schools derives from institutional relationships and public policies. High levels of residential segregation are associated with commensurate levels of racial segregation in schools. Although school segregation decreased between 1968 and 1980 as a result of judicial enforcement, during the 1980s and 1990s governmental inaction and deregulation of mechanisms to desegregate schools led to increasing resegregation. In many school districts where court-mandated desegregation has ended, there has been a major increase in segregation (Orfield and Lee 2004). Levels of school segregation have been higher in the Northeast and Midwest than in the South and West (Orfield 2001). The abandonment of desegregation as public policy has mirrored the rise in national politics of the assumption that segregation and racial inequality are historic problems that have already been addressed. Contemporary movements to expand educational choice, through publicly funded vouchers that enable students to attend private schools, are occurring in a context in which the civil rights afforded by the Brown decision are being derailed.

Racial minorities who attend racially segregated urban schools are less likely to take college preparatory courses and attend college than those in more integrated and suburban schools. Teacher assignment practices reinforce inequality, because the least proficient teachers tend to be assigned to the least desirable schools, which are often in minority neighborhoods. Yet even in more integrated schools, minorities experience disadvantage due to lower expectations on the part of teachers and placement in lower tracks.

During the postcivil rights years, continued improvements were made in high school graduation rates across racial groups, which was reflected in a narrowing of the racial gap. Although actual and percentage levels of college graduation increased for all groups during the 1990s, there has been a growing racial gap in college attendance rates between whites and blacks and between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics (Blank 2001, pp. 2526). Recent efforts in higher education to increase academic standards and eliminate affirmative action have come at the expense of continued movement toward racial equality and educational opportunity.

Continuing racial segregation and discrimination has affected wealth accumulation, earned incomes, and employment chances across racial groups. Racial differences in wealth, which reflect intergenerational wealth and current asset ownership, are more extreme than income differences. Wealth differences are reflected in differences in levels of home ownership, which are not merely the result of income differences but rather a product of the historical legacy of residential segregation, Federal Housing Authority and Veterans Administration policies, and redlining. Blacks are rejected for home loans 60 percent more often than whites with the same income level, black families pay more in mortgage interest than white families, and the valuing of homes and equity is color-coded by segregation (Oliver and Shapiro 1995).

Segregation in labor markets, which are associated with different formal and informal social networks, is reflected in higher rates of unemployment and joblessness among racial minorities. Unemployment rates for both blacks and Hispanics have remained roughly twice the white unemployment rate. Among the factors contributing to high joblessness rates are selective recruitment and statistical discrimination, employer practices that reduce access to jobs for inner city applicants. These may involve limiting recruitment to selective neighborhoods, avoiding the placement of ads in central city newspapers, passing over applicants from black public schools, and subjective tests of job productivity (Wilson 1996, pp. 133136).

Segregation and deprivation among blacks have been accompanied by criminal justice policies with impacts that are highly differentiated by race. Racial profiling by law enforcement associates particular racial and ethnic characteristics with dangers, risks, and threats. The federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 prescribes the same mandatory-minimum sentence for 50 grams of crack cocaine (a form of the drug more likely to be used by low-income blacks) as it does for 5,000 grams of powdered cocaine (a form more likely to be used by high-income whites) (Blumenstein 2001, p. 26). An individual caught possessing only 1 to 5 grams of crack cocaine is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Crack cocaine is the only drug for which there exists a mandatory minimum sentence for the first offense (Kennedy 2001, p. 15). More than 30 percent of black high school dropouts will go to prison at some time in their lives, compared to 10 percent of white male high school dropouts (Patillo, Weiman, and Western 2004). Among black males in their twenties, 30 percent were under the control of the criminal justice systemprison, jail, probation, or parole (Mauer 1990).

When U.S. integration policies were first adopted, race-based discrimination was officially recognized and black-white relationships were the primary focus of formal and substantive integration. Through the 1960s, the federal government and its civil rights agencies were expected to end legal segregation and discrimination. By the postcivil rights years, the goals of integration had expanded into a policy of diversity, which policymakers struggled to implement. While civil rights organizations have emphasized that integration programs should be sustainable and relatively enduring considering the long history of slavery and segregation, there is a growing tendency among politicians to view integration as a set of transitional programs that have run their course and are no longer necessary. New patterns of integration emphasize formal integration and are based on the principle of colorblindness, which argues that people should be treated as individuals and not as members of groups. By asserting that race does not matter, colorblindness as a principle and social policy denies the reality of continued discrimination. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, racial segregation and institutional discrimination persist in the United States despite the emergence of a colorblind society.


The philosophical bases for the adoption and implementation of integration policies in the United States may have been informed by similar attempts to promote racial and ethnic integration in other societies such as India, Brazil, Britain, and France. Integration policies in these countries have varied with respect to their emphasis on either formal or substantive integration, their articulation of race and racial discrimination (as distinct from ethnic and class discrimination), the role of the government and government agencies, and the demographic characteristics of racially and ethnically subordinate groups. Differences also exist regarding the question of whether such programs should be viewed as transitional or long-term.

Indias integration policy, the reservation system, grew out of the larger Indian struggles for home rule and independence, which had as one of their goals the elimination of the caste system. The Indian caste system, which existed for more than 2,500 years (up until 1947), was a status hierarchy and occupational stratification system with religious, color-based, and regional dimensions. Under the countrys constitution, the reservation system sets aside a proportion of all government jobs, seats in educational institutions with government funding, and electoral constituencies for persons from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other backward classes (Deshpande 2005, p. 10). Because Indian integration policies are based on the constitution, they cannot be legally challenged. National minority status, rather than racial status, is the basis of assignment to one of the protected classes. Unlike the United States, integration is based completely on voluntary efforts. Greatest resistance to the integration of the untouchables has come from the highest castes, which are highly represented in the decision-making positions of government. Critics of Indias integration have emphasized that the poorest and outcast scheduled castes and schedule tribes are greatly outnumbered by the other backward classes and that the quota system has selected from the more privileged members of these underclasses and not the poorest. At the same time, many of the slots made available by the quota system go unfilled due to low levels of education, training, and preparation among low-caste groups (Sowell 2004).

Brazils integration policies have been constrained by a national ideology that views the country as a racial democracy, a self-perception supported by the absence of legalized racial segregation, substantial miscegenation and interracialism, and a constitutional provision of equality before the law. Until recently, race as an official category did not exist and public discussions of the racial question were officially prohibited. The ideology of racial democracy, which maintains that race does not matter, is intricately combined with an informal system of discrimination and a social hierarchy of color (or pigmentocracy), in which lighter skin is associated with greater prestige and economic status and darker skin is associated with lower prestige and poverty. Under the dominant cultural belief system, African ancestry or blackness was defined by the European elites as anti-Brazilian. Relatedly, among blacks the notion of a colorblind racial democracy has undermined the legitimacy of organized struggle and the development of collective consciousness, self-help, and uplift. During World War II and the postwar years, any possibilities of integration in Brazil were further thwarted by two major periods of authoritarian rule (19371945 and 19641985) (Nascimento and Nascimento 2001).

More recently, Afro-Brazilian activists have struggled to have the racial question recognized as a national issue and have demanded the articulation of specific public policies addressing racism. At the same time, the number of Afro-Brazilians elected to political office and in other positions of power has increased, though it is still very far from proportionate. Also, racism is increasingly coming to be viewed as a question of human rights. In the late 1990s, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso publicly denounced racism and began to introduce affirmative action programs for Brazilians of African descent. The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2002present) created the Special Ministry to Promote Racial Equality and state universities in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Minas Gerais began the policy of reserving vacancies for blacks and public school students. The Brazilian Congress has also introduced bills that mandate quotas for all public universities, government services, and television shows. The implementation of affirmative action policies in the universities has derived from the convergence of Afro-Brazilian struggles and new governmental policies.

In Britain and France, official recognition of race, ethnicity, and discrimination was virtually absent until after World War II. In both countries, the large-scale influx of immigrants from former colonies in the Southern Hemisphere led to a perceived need for integration policies.

British integration policies grew out of legislation that was initially designed to restrict immigration and depoliticize race. In response to the growth of West Indian and East Indian immigrant populations, in 1964 the Labor-dominated British government enacted legislation that both restricted immigration and encouraged integration (Bleich 2003, pp. 6566). Four years later, a progressive coalition brought about the enactment of the more comprehensive 1968 Race Relations Act, which made discrimination on racial grounds unlawful in housing, employment, training, education, and the provision of goods, facilities, and services. This legislation established an administrative agency for race-related issues, structured access into British institutions, and widened protections against racism. Paralleling developments in the United States, the 1968 Act reframed issues of integration as issues of access. The British Parliament expanded the definition of discrimination from direct intentional discrimination to indirect discrimination, whether intentional or not, and laid out a soft form of affirmative action known as positive action (Bleich 2003, pp. 101102). The Race Relations Amendment (2000) extended the coverage of the 1976 Act to all public institutions, with only a few limited exceptions. Since the 1976 Race Relations Act, movement toward increased access has been constrained by institutional changessuch as decentralization, which saw political power shift to the judiciary, local jurisdictions, and the bureaucracyand, beginning in the 1980s, by a succession of conservative-led British governments that were not receptive to race-conscious policies addressing indirect discrimination.

Frances antidiscrimination policies derived from French memories of Nazism, anti-Semitic newspapers, and speeches by far-right demagogues. Protections against unequal access to employment and services were negligible. Focused largely on formal integration and expressive racism, French integration legislation introduced in 1972 criminalized racial defamation and the provocation of racial hatred against groups or individuals; outlawed discrimination in hiring, firing, and the provision of goods and services; and enabled the government to disband groups that seek to promote racism. Protections against unequal access to employment and services remain negligible (Bleich 2003, pp. 139141).

French legislation conceived of discrimination as based on religion or ethnic or national originbut not on race. France has a colorblind code that omits the word race. The government collects no census data relating to race and ethnicity, and in 1978 it banned race-based statistics. There is no public- or privatesector use of racial or ethnic data to estimate the status of minorities (Bleich 2003, p. 141). Although the immigration of North and West Africans has continued, and immigrants in France experience substantial economic inequality and segregation, structural discrimination and unequal access are not recognized in Frances integration policy.

SEE ALSO Affirmative Action; Anti-Semitism; Apartheid; Assimilation; Black Nationalism; Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 ; Caste; Caste, Anthropology of; Civil Rights Movement, U.S.; Crowding Hypothesis; Desegregation; Discrimination, Racial; Education, Unequal; Ethnocentrism; Ghetto; Great Society, The; Immigration; Jim Crow; Jingoism; Kerner Commission Report; Nation of Islam; Nazism; Quotas; Race-Blind Policies; Race-Conscious Policies; Racism; Segregation; Segregation, Residential; Segregation, School; Separate-but-Equal; Separatism; Voting Rights Act


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Frank Harold Wilson

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"Integration." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved October 20, 2016 from



The bringing together of separate elements to create a whole unit. The bringing together of people from the different demographic and racial groups that make up U.S. society.

In most cases, the term integration is used to describe the process of bringing together people of different races, especially blacks and whites, in schools and other settings. But it is also used to describe the process of bringing together people of different backgrounds. A primary purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 12101 et seq.), for example, was to more fully integrate disabled individuals into U.S. society. The House Judiciary Committee's report on the ADA described it as "a comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation which promises a new future: a future of inclusion and integration, and the end of exclusion and segregation" (H.R. Rep. No. 485, 101st Cong., 2d Sess., pt. 3, at 26 [1990], reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 445, 449.7).

The term integration is most commonly used in association with the efforts of African-Americans in the United States to eliminate racial segregation and achieve equal opportunity and inclusion in U.S. society. Often, it has been used synonymously with desegregation to mean the elimination of discriminatory practices based on race. However, although similar, the terms have been used in significantly different ways by the courts, by legal theorists, and in the context of the civil rights movement. In general, desegregation refers to the elimination of policies and practices that segregate people of different races into separate institutions and facilities. Integration refers not only to the elimination of such policies but also to the active incorporation of different races into institutions for the purpose of achieving racial balance, which many believe will lead to equal rights, protections, and opportunities.

Throughout the civil rights movement in the United States, black leaders have held different opinions about the meaning and value of integration, with some advocating integration as the ultimate goal for black citizens, and others resisting integration out of concern that it would lead to the assimilation of black citizens into white culture and society. In 1934, a disagreement over the value of integration versus segregation led W. E. B. Du Bois—a cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (naacp) and a leading scholar, writer, and civil rights activist—to resign from the NAACP. Du Bois rejected the NAACP's heavy emphasis on integration, calling instead for black citizens to maintain their own churches, schools, and social organizations, and especially to develop their own economic base separate from the mainstream white economy.

After Du Bois's resignation, the NAACP adopted a full-fledged campaign to eliminate segregation and to promote integration. In 1940, NAACP leaders sent to President franklin d. roosevelt, the secretary of the Navy, and the assistant secretary of war a memorandum outlining provisions for the "integration of the Negro into military aspects of the national defense program." This was the first instance in which the NAACP had specifically used the term integration in a civil rights policy pronouncement. After world war ii, the term racial integration became commonly used to describe civil rights issues pertaining to race.

On the legal front, the NAACP focused its efforts on eliminating segregation in the public schools. This campaign was led by thurgood marshall, the first director-counsel of the naacp legal defense and educational fund and later a U.S. Supreme Court justice. In 1954, Marshall successfully argued the landmark case brown v. board of education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873, before the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling in that case declared that racially segregated schools are inherently unequal and thus unconstitutional. Like other NAACP leaders, Marshall was strongly committed to the principle of racial integration. His arguments in Brown were heavily based on the work of Kenneth B. Clark, a black social psychologist whose research suggested that black children were stigmatized by being educated in racially segregated schools, causing them to suffer psychological and intellectual harm. Marshall used this theory of "stigmatic injury" to

persuade the Court that racially segregated schools were inherently unequal. Although the Brown decision called for an end to formal segregation, it did not explicitly call for positive steps to ensure the integration of public schools.

The desegregation momentum begun by Brown was enacted into law by the 1964 civil rights act (Pub. L. No. 88-352, 78 Stat. 246), which denied federal funds to any program that discriminated illegally on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, or national origin, outlawing such discrimination not only in public schools but also in areas of public accommodation and employment. To ensure the support necessary for passage of the act, its writers worded the act specifically to emphasize that its purpose was to desegregate, not to integrate. "Desegregation," the act said, was "the assignment of students to public schools … without regard to their race," but "not … the assignment of students to public schools in order to overcome racial imbalance."

Nevertheless, after the Civil Rights Act was passed, judges and other federal officials enforcing it required schools to go beyond racially neutral desegregation policies to try to remedy past segregation by enforcing a greater degree of racial integration. This policy was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968 in Green v. County School Board, 391 U.S. 430, 88 S. Ct. 1689, 20 L. Ed. 2d 716, in which the Court ruled that a school district's desegregation plan was unacceptable under the Brown ruling. The Green case involved a school district that had two high schools that had previously been segregated by race. When the district changed its rules to allow students to attend the school of their choice, few black students chose to attend the traditionally white school, and no whites chose the black school, thus leaving the schools segregated. In its ruling in Green, the Court called the "freedom of-choice" plan a "deliberate perpetuation of the unconstitutional dual system" and said that school boards had an "affirmative duty to take whatever steps might be necessary to convert to a unitary system in which racial discrimination would be eliminated root and branch." Although a freedom-of-choice plan could theoretically be a viable method for converting to a "unitary, nonracial school system," the Court said, it would have to "prove itself in operation," adding that such methods as rezoning might prove speedier, and thus more acceptable. Although the Court did not explicitly require active integration, it suggested that the validity of desegregation plans would be measured by the amount of integration that they actually produced.

This emphasis on achieving specific levels of integration as proof of desegregation was reinforced by the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in swann v. charlotte-mecklenburg board of education, 402 U.S. 1, 91 S. Ct. 1267, 28 L. Ed. 2d 554. In Swann, the Court ruled that schools could use methods such as involuntary busing and the altering of attendance zones to achieve specific ratios of racial mixing, as long as those ratios were established as a "starting point[s] in the process of shaping a remedy" for past discrimination.

In a 1974 case, Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717, 94 S. Ct. 3112, 41 L. Ed. 2d 1069, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for city school districts to achieve racial integration. In Milliken, the Court ruled that a federally ordered desegregation remedy could not include suburban schools when a city's school district was officially segregated for reasons other than past illegal discrimination, such as the simple demographics of its residents. In other words, if the surrounding suburban districts had not contributed to past illegal segregation, they could not be held responsible for remedying it. A cross-district remedy, the Court ruled, would be permissible only to correct a cross-district wrong. The effect of Milliken has been to allow an increasing amount of resegregation in public schools as housing patterns divide black and white residents between cities and their surrounding suburbs. More recent cases, such as Missouri v. Jenkins, 515 U.S. 70, 115 S. Ct. 2038, 132 L. Ed. 2d 63 (1995), have continued to impose strict judicial limits on the power of the courts to impose and enforce desegregation plans in the public schools.

Despite significant legal victories mandating greater integration, therefore, the actual amount of racial integration in the United States—in the schools and elsewhere—remains limited. In fact, in 2003, the Harvard University Civil Rights Project warned that early school integration gains were actually being reversed. In an 82-page report titled "A Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?" the multidisciplinary research-and-policy think tank examined trends in federal public school enrollment data from the start of integration efforts through the year 2000. According to its analysis of these figures, the desegregation of black students progressed continuously until the late 1980s. Quantifiable gains from this policy included sharp increases in minority high-school graduations and the narrowing of differences in test scores between white and minority students. Then a process of "resegregation" began.

As argued in the report, resegregation has been marked by several disturbing statistical trends. Whites have clustered in schools with an average of 80 percent white populations, blacks have found themselves more segregated than at any time since the 1970s, and a substantial number of schools have emerged with virtually all non-white student populations. These the authors scathingly designated "apartheid schools" for their institutional resemblance—in terms of economic impoverishment, lack of resources, and social and health problems—to those found under the system of racial segregation enforced in twentieth-century South Africa. The findings also highlighted the isolation of Latino students, who have become the most highly segregated racial group in the public school system.

Most damningly, the Civil Rights Project report diagnosed an intellectual and moral failure in U.S. society to uphold the principles of integration. Not for want of public support was integration being abandoned, the authors argued. Instead, governments had essentially given up: Policy makers had erroneously concluded that enough progress had been made and that more was unattainable. Noting the absence of Congressional action since the early 1970s and the dearth of executive branch enforcement since the Johnson era (with the sole exception of the Carter administration), the authors blamed lawmakers, the Executive Branch, and the courts for allowing integration efforts to wither while resegregation took root. The report called for a renewed focus on desegregation from both state and federal authorities to offer minority students attendance choices among better, more integrated schools.

Such failures have led many black leaders to question whether integration is indeed possible in the United States and whether it would actually benefit African Americans. Those in favor of integration follow in the tradition of Marshall and martin luther king, jr., who insisted that integration would lead to increased freedom, power, and opportunities for African Americans. "In our society," King insisted, "liberation cannot come without integration and integration cannot come without liberation." More recently, Andrew Young, civil rights activist, former U.N. ambassador, and former mayor of Atlanta, has emphasized that integration does not lead to assimilation. "Those who reject integration," he said, "do so because they see the black community as one-way assimilation." In contrast, he said, "integration is a two-way street, each side contributing their own values, virtues, and traditions."

Other black scholars and political leaders have followed the lead of Du Bois, questioning the value of integration for African Americans and recommending instead separate black schools, churches, and economic networks. In the 1960s, members of the black power and black nationalist movements, including malcolm x, argued that integration was an inappropriate strategy for blacks, who they believed could free themselves from racism and repression only by separating themselves from the mainstream white culture. Integration, they asserted, would result in African Americans being assimilated into the white community. In 1967, for example, stokely carmichael, a leader of the black-power movement, said, "The fact is that integration, as traditionally articulated, would abolish the black community." More recently, some legal theorists of race relations have criticized the theory of stigmatic injury that Marshall presented in Brown, contending that it rests on a notion of African-American inferiority by asserting that black children can receive an adequate education

The Most Segregated States for Black and Hispanic Students: 2000–2001
Most Segregated States for Black Students Most Segregated States for Hispanic Students
State Mostly minoritya State Mostly minoritya
a"Mostly minority" is defined as a school whose enrollment of black and/or Hispanic students is at least 90 percent of the total enrollment.
source: Harvard University, The Civil Rights Project, A Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?, 2003.
1Michigan62.5%1New York58.7%
2New York60.8%2Texas46.9%
4New Jersey50.0%4New Jersey40.7%
10Mississippi41.3%10Rhode Island25.4%

only in the presence of white children. derrick a. bell, jr., a leading legal theorist on race relations, has been a particularly vocal critic of integrated schools, insisting that they do not meet the needs of African-American children, whom, he says, would be better served by increased funding for schools in black neighborhoods, more black teachers and administrators, increased parental involvement, and higher expectations for academic achievement. Many educational experts concur, suggesting that many young black males would receive a higher-quality education by attending black male academies where the approach and curriculum were specifically designed to counter the social and cultural challenges faced by those young men in today's world.

Many of the black leaders who today advocate integration have refined the notion, insisting that it means more than simply mixing black and white students in the same school. Legal scholar john a. powell (who spells his name with only lowercase letters) said that true integration "transforms racial hierarchy" by "[creating] a more inclusive society where individuals and groups have opportunities to participate equally in their communities." Similarly, Ellis Cashmore, a leading scholar of race relations, said integration "describes a condition in which different ethnic groups are able to maintain group boundaries and uniqueness, while participating equally in the essential processes of production, distribution and government." Cashmore conceded, however, that in the United States, this type of integration "remains more of an ideal than a reality."

Cashmore and other current race-relations scholars suggest that integration no longer means simply desegregation but rather that it now includes pluralism. Pluralism, in this context, refers to a condition in which no ethnic hierarchies exist, so there are no ethnic minorities per se; instead, the various groups in society participate equally in the social system, therefore experiencing balance and cohesion rather than contention and resentment. In this sense, said scholar Harold Cruse, "the separate-but-equal doctrine that Brown ruled unconstitutional should have been supplanted by the truly democratic doctrine of plural but equal.

further readings

Brown-Scott, Wendy. 1994. "Justice Thurgood Marshall and the Integrative Ideal." Arizona State Law Journal 26.

Carmichael, Stokely, and Charles Hamilton. 1967. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. New York: Random House.

Cashmore, Ellis. 1994. Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations. 3d ed. London: Routledge.

Christian, William. 1994. "Normalization as a Goal: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Individuals with Mental Retardation." Texas Law Review 73.

Cruse, Harold. 1987. Plural but Equal. New York: Morrow.

Davis, Maia. 2003. "Harvard Study Finds New Segregation." The Record. (January 19): A1.

Frankenberg, Erica, Chungmei, Lee, and Gary Orfield. 2003. "A Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?" The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. (January)

Kimerling, Joshua E. 1994. "Black Male Academies: Reexamining the Strategy of Integration." Buffalo Law Review 42.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1968. Where Do We Go from Here—Chaos or Community? Boston: Beacon Press.

Middleton, Michael A. 1995. "Brown v. Board: Revisited." Southern Illinois University Law Journal 20.

Powell, John A. 1996. "Living and Learning: Linking House and Education." Minnesota Law Review 80.

Stewart, Carter M., and S. Felicita Torres. 1996. "Limiting Federal Court Power to Impose School Desegregation Remedies—Missouri v. Jenkins." Harvard Civil Rights–Civil Liberties Law Review 31.

Wolters, Raymond. 1996. "Stephen C. Halpern, on the Limits of the Law: The Ironic Legacy of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act." American Journal of Legal History 40.

Young, Andrew. 1995. "Reaffirming Our Faith in Integration." St. Louis University Law Journal 39.


Disability Discrimination; School Desegregation; Separate But Equal.

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integration, in U.S. history, the goal of an organized movement to break down the barriers of discrimination and segregation separating African Americans from the rest of American society. Racial segregation was peculiar neither to the American South nor to the United States (see apartheid).

Reconstruction to 1954

Segregation assumed its special form in the United States after the Southern states were defeated in the Civil War and slavery was abolished. Black codes that restricted the rights of the newly freed slaves were enacted in the South in 1865–66. These were abolished during Reconstruction, but after Reconstruction white dominance was thoroughly reestablished in the South, partly by the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and other groups, but more by the persistence of social custom.

African Americans were prevented from voting by devices such as the poll tax and unfair literacy tests and by intimidation. They were denied any equal share in community life. Toward the end of the 19th cent. segregation laws—the Jim Crow laws—were enacted to codify white dominance. Blacks were forced to attend separate schools and colleges, to occupy special sections in railway cars and buses, and to use separate public facilities; they were forbidden to sit with whites in most places of public amusement. These laws were upheld as regards railroad facilities by the case of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the so-called separate but equal accommodation. The period 1900 to 1920 brought full extension of segregation to all public transportation and education facilities, even hospitals, churches, and jails.

The tide of opposition across the nation began to rise just before World War II and was given impetus by the activities of civil-rights organizations. African Americans, enjoying a somewhat improved economic status, were in the 1930s more assertive of their rights. General opinion may have been influenced by the paradox of a nation urging war for democracy overseas while at the same time tolerating discrimination at home.

In 1948, President Harry Truman issued a directive calling for an end to segregation in the armed forces. The Supreme Court had also begun to move away from the earlier opinions and toward a principle of racial equality. The court struck down state enforcement of restrictive covenants as well as racial barriers leading to unequal treatment in state professional schools and in interstate transportation. In these rulings, however, the court still ruled only on whether facilities provided for blacks and whites were equal, and not on whether the separation of the races itself was unconstitutional.

1954 to 1963

School Desegregation

In 1954, the Supreme Court took a momentous step: In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans. the court set aside a Kansas statute permitting cities of more than 15,000 to maintain separate schools for blacks and whites and ruled instead that all segregation in public schools is "inherently unequal" and that all blacks barred from attending public schools with white pupils are denied equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The doctrine was extended to state-supported colleges and universities in 1956. Meanwhile, in 1955 the court implemented its 1954 opinion by declaring that the federal district courts would have jurisdiction over lawsuits to enforce the desegregation decision and asked that desegregation proceed "with all deliberate speed."

At the time of the 1954 decision, laws in 17 southern and border states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri) and the District of Columbia required that elementary schools be segregated. Four other states—Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, and Wyoming—had laws permitting segregated schools, but Wyoming had never exercised the option, and the problem was not important in the other three. Although discrimination existed in the other states of the Union, it was not sanctioned by law.

The struggle over desegregation now centered upon the school question. By the end of 1957 nine of the 17 states and the District of Columbia had begun integration of their school systems. Another five states had some integrated schools by 1961. The states mostly fell back on stopgap measures or on pupil-placement laws, which assigned students to schools ostensibly on nonracial grounds. Forced integration led to much violence. The most notable instance was the defiance in 1957 of federal orders by Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas, who called out the Arkansas National Guard to prevent integration in Little Rock. President Eisenhower responded by sending federal troops to enforce the court order for integration.

In 1958 Virginia closed nine schools in four counties rather than have them integrated, but Virginia and federal courts ruled these moves illegal. In 1960 desegregation began in Louisiana; whites boycotted the integrated New Orleans public schools at first triumphantly, later with diminishing effectiveness. In 1961 two black students registered at the Univ. of Georgia but were suspended because of student disorders; they were later returned under a federal judge's order.

In 1962–63 violence erupted in Mississippi, precipitating a serious crisis in federal-state relations. Against the opposition of Gov. Ross R. Barnett, James H. Meredith, a black who was supported by federal court orders, registered at the Univ. of Mississippi in 1962. A mob gathered and attacked the force of several hundred federal marshals assigned to protect Meredith; two persons were killed. The next day federal troops occupied Oxford and restored order. Meredith became the first African American to attend a Mississippi public school with white students in accord with the 1954 court decision.

In 1963, South Carolina's Clemson College became the first integrated public school in that state. Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama stood in a doorway at the Univ. of Alabama in a symbolic attempt to block two black students from enrolling in 1963; the attempt failed. In the North attempts were also made to combat segregation. After a suit brought by black parents in 1960, the school system of New Rochelle, N.Y., was in 1961 ordered by a federal judge to be desegregated. Similar suits followed in other cities.

Public Transportation and Accommodations

The fight over education overshadowed efforts to achieve integration in other areas, but moves against segregation in public transportation did gain wide notice. In 1955–56, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led blacks in Montgomery, Ala., in a boycott against the municipal bus system after Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the segregated section of a bus. The boycott was brought to a successful conclusion when, on Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court nullified the laws of Alabama and the ordinances of Montgomery that required segregation on buses.

Mixed groups of whites and blacks, called Freedom Riders, in May, 1961, undertook a campaign to force integration in bus terminals and challenge segregation in local interstate travel facilities. The buses were attacked by mobs in Anniston, Ala., where one bus was destroyed by a firebomb. There were riots in Birmingham and Montgomery when blacks attempted to use facilities previously reserved for whites; federal marshals and the National Guard were called out to restore order and escort the Freedom Riders to Mississippi. Many of them were arrested in Jackson, Miss., for infractions of the state's segregation laws, and a long series of court battles began. These protests led in 1961 to an Interstate Commerce Commission ban on segregation in all interstate transportation facilities.

Other Fields

Passive resistance was undertaken by groups to eradicate discrimination in other fields. In 1960 black college students staged a sit-in at segregated public lunch counters in an effort to force desegregation; similar demonstrations were made in other cities. Other campaigns were waged with some success for the desegregation of beaches, restaurants, theaters, and libraries. In 1957, New York City adopted the first law forbidding racial or religious discrimination in private rental housing. During the summer of 1963 thousands of blacks demonstrated in Birmingham, Ala., and were attacked by police using cattle prods and dogs. Nationwide revulsion to these attacks was expressed when over 200,000 people marched on Washington, D.C., and pressed for further civil-rights legislation.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act to the Present

An attempt to deal with the increasing demands of blacks for equal rights came in 1964 when President Lyndon Baines Johnson asked for and received the most comprehensive civil-rights act to date; the act specifically prohibited discrimination in voting, education, and the use of public facilities. For the first time since the Supreme Court ruled on segregation in public schools in 1954, the federal government had a means of enforcing desegregation; Title VI of the act barred the use of federal funds for segregated programs and schools. In 1964 only two southern states (Tennessee and Texas) had more than 2% of their black students enrolled in integrated schools. Because of Title VI, about 6% of the black students in the South were in integrated schools by the next year.

Early in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was passed, but it did not prevent the rising tide of militance among blacks; Watts, a black slum in Los Angeles, erupted in violence, leaving 34 dead. The next year was marked by riots in practically all major U.S. cities as blacks began shifting to an independent course expressed in the concept of black power; the term originated with Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an organization that dropped whites from membership the following year.

Meanwhile, integration of southern school districts was progressing; by 1967, 22% of the black students in the 17 southern and border states were in integrated schools. However, the continuing separation of blacks and whites in most areas was emphasized in 1968 when the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission) issued a report that said, "our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal." The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., that summer set off riots in 125 U.S. cities. The issue of segregated housing was faced in the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which contained a clause barring discrimination against blacks in the sale or rental of most housing.

Although integration proponents received a setback in 1970 when President Nixon announced that the desegregation of schools would be left to the courts and that his administration would de-emphasize strong desegregation procedures, real successes had already been achieved. Black college students were enrolling in previously white colleges at a greater rate; in 1964, 51% of black students had been in predominantly black colleges, but by 1971 only 34% were. At the secondary and primary levels the South had begun to move ahead of the North, despite a system of tax-exempt, segregated private schools that had been developing in the South since the 1960s. By the fall of 1972, 44% of the black students in the South were in predominantly white schools, while only 30% were in predominantly white schools in the North.

The early 1970s were characterized by the controversial issue of busing as a tool to promote integration. The Supreme Court continued, in the early 1970s, to back busing plans. By 1974, however, a more conservative court had moderated its position, allowing in Miliken v. Bradley (1974) the predominantly white Detroit suburbs to be excluded from a desegregation plan. By the mid-1970s, however, only about 12% of black students in the United States remained in completely segregated schools; the number of students still in such schools remains very low. Nonetheless, in the late 1990s about one third of all black students were in schools that were 90% nonwhite. Moreover, studies showed that from the mid-1980s through the 1990s American classrooms in grades K to 12 had become increasingly segregated, a trend linked to court decisions limiting and reversing desegregation as well as to a decline in federal support for desegregation and to enduring de facto segregation in housing. Nonetheless, in 2007 a significantly more conservative Supreme Court ruled that the degree to which school districts could use race in order to avoid resegregation was limited.

Affirmative action, which seeks to overcome the effects of segregation and other forms of past discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to African Americans and other affected groups, began in the 1960s. The use of racial quotas as part of affirmative action, however, led to charges of reverse discrimination in the late 1970s. In the 1980s the federal government's role in affirmative action was considerably diluted, and in 1989 the Supreme Court gave greater standing to claims of reverse discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 reaffirmed a government commitment to affirmative action, but Supreme Court decisions have placed limits on the use of race in awarding government contracts and in achieving educational diversity. In the late 1990s, California and other states banned the use of race- and sex-based preferences.

The various civil-rights acts and the diminishment of prejudice produced changes in the political arena; African Americans became increasingly elected to public office. In 1966, Edward Brooke became the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, and, in 1967, Carl Stokes became the first African American to be elected mayor of a major American city (Cleveland). Many major cities, among them New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, have since elected black mayors. In 1984 and 1988, Jesse Jackson campaigned for the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the first black to contend seriously for that office. Douglas Wilder became first African American to be elected governor of a state in 1989. Gen. Colin Powell, the first African American to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff and serve as secretary of state, was the popular choice of many Republicans for the 1996 presidential nomination, although he declined to run. A little more than a decade later, Illinois senator Barack Obama became (2008) the first black major party candidate for the nation's highest office. The son of a white American mother and a Kenyan father, he was nominated by the Democratic party and won the election.

Although a number of blacks have achieved real prominence in business, education, government, and other fields, and many more have achieved solid, though less stunning successes as a result of integration, race remains one of the most intractable problems in the United States, in large part because personal biases and racial stereotyping (by and of all races) cannot be altered by legislation or lawsuits. This lingering prejudice fosters interracial tension and other social problems that are often ignored by the larger society unless a public outcry or worse results, as in New Jersey in the late 1990s when public controversy erupted over the use of racial profiling by the state police. Even in the last decade of the 20th cent. and the first years of the 21st, race riots have occurred; the most violent was in Los Angeles following the acquittal (1992) of the police officers accused of brutality in the Rodney King case.


See M. R. Konvitz, A Century of Civil Rights (1961, repr. 1967); R. L. Green, Racial Crisis in American Education (1969); R. Kluger, Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality (1976); G. Orfield, Public School Desegregation in the United States, 1968–80 (1983); D. G. Nieman, Promises to Keep: African Americans and the Constitutional Order, 1776 to Present (1991); J. T. Patterson, Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy (2001); C. Polsgrove, Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement (2001); P. Irons, Jim Crow's Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision (2002); C. V. Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (4th rev. ed. 2002); C. Carter et al., ed., Reporting Civil Rights: American Journalism 1941–1973 (2 vol., 2003).

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Connectivity is a main element of e-commerce. It is a requirement for engaging in electronic transactions between two or more parties, be they businesses or consumers. However, companies that excel at e-commerce do more than simply connect with customers, suppliers, and other business partners; they find ways to integrate the many different computer systems and databases that are part of their operations with each other (internal integration), or with parties on the outside (external integration) so they function together seamlessly.


External integration is especially important in the realm of business-to-business e-commerce, where companies can realize significant cost savings and increased efficiencies by integrating their systems. Companies and business partners may integrate systems at different points in a supply chain, which encompasses all of the different levels involved in manufacturing products. Supply chains include everything from raw materials to finished products, which can be used by other companies in their manufacturing processes or purchased by consumers. For example, an automotive manufacturer might integrate certain systems that contain information about production forecasts with a tire manufacturer's systems. With this information, the tire manufacturer is able to tie its production levels closely with the automotive manufacturer's demand. This allows for better production control, satisfactory shipment times, and more manageable inventory levels.

In the early 2000s, business-to-business transactions happened mainly through both traditional and Web-based electronic data interchange (EDI) and online marketplaces or exchanges. It was in these environments that issues concerning external integration became important. EDI involves exchanging electronic business information like bills of lading, confirmations, purchase orders, and inventory information between organizations or trading partners in agreed upon, standard formats. Through EDI, computers and databases communicate directly with one another over value-added networks (VANs), private networks, and the Internet (open EDI).

The Internet was fast becoming an important means of engaging in EDI during the early 2000s, especially for smaller companies that previously could not afford the high costs associated with traditional EDI. Extensible markup language (XML), a computer language similar in many ways to hypertext markup language (HTML), which is used to create Web pages, was playing an important role in this arena. It enabled external integration by allowing companies to share information in universal ways, no matter what kinds of software systems they used. XML also played an important role in developing online marketplaces or exchanges, which are Web-based environments where buyers and sellers are able to come together and engage in trading. These marketplaces were operated by third parties who charged buyers and sellers to engage in electronic transactions that might not otherwise have been possible due to system incompatibilities.

The need for external integration was growing rapidly in the early 2000s along with the business-to-business sector. According to Corporate EFT Report, business-to-business sales were estimated to be $3.3 trillion in 2000 and were projected to reach $5.2 trillion by 2004. The Gartner Group forecast more optimistic business-to-business sales for 2004, placing the figure at $7.29 trillion.


Successful e-commerce companies also make sure the many different systems they use within their enterprises are integrated. Known as internal integration, this allows many different pieces of relevant information about transactions and other business activities to be shared with appropriate divisions or departments. For example, in business-to-consumer commerce, when a customer orders a product online via an order form on a company's Web site, data about the order is instantly sent to the accounting department for billing and financial reporting purposes; to the warehouse for packing and shipping purposes; and to customer service in the event of questions or concerns regarding the status of the order.

When e-commerce exploded in popularity, many companies rushed into the game by putting up Web sites and accepting online orders. However, these front-end elements represented only half of the equation. Many organizations failed to think through processes and systems on the back end, namely how they would connect systems together. When companies take this approach, bottlenecks arise in what otherwise would be a seamless process. Orders that come in via the Web might be billed quickly to a customer's credit card, but are then printed out on paper and held for days or weeks in the warehouse before being filled. Practices like these hinder what e-commerce is all about.

As explained in InfoWorld, "Retail success hinges on what happens behind that fabulous Web site: logistics and fulfillment, payment systems, systems and policies to handle returns, customer service, and, running through it all, integration. Without these the site won't scale, and customers who once loved the Web store will quickly turn fickle and point their browsers elsewhere."


Integration-related problems, both internal and external, usually arise from incompatible computer systems. According to eCompany Now, a Forrester Research survey revealed that although most big companies (72 percent) understand the importance of external integration, less than 25 percent had integrated their systems externally. The publication explained: "There are a lot of businesses out there that have spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours automating every aspect of their operation, only to discover that their wondrous new systems stopped cold whenever their business touched their customers, suppliers, and partners." Information in Computerworld also indicated that a large number of businesses were not prepared to reap the many benefits the Internet and e-commerce had to offer, explaining that the IT infrastructures of most enterprises were fragmented collections of different programs, devices, and networks without the ability to communicate seamlessly.

Complicating matters further is the fact that some of these systems are custom, and represent significant investments both in development and user training. While starting from scratch with new systems is one possible solution, for this reason it usually isn't a practical or feasible one for many companies. After a large number of e-commerce companies failed in the early 2000s, many executives also were skeptical about investing millions of dollars in information technology that might not result in an immediate return-on-investment.

In the early 2000s, application-integration software was a potential solution for companies needing to integrate their systems internally (enterprise application integration) or externally (inter-enterprise integration). Application-integration solutions normally fall into the category of middlewaresoftware residing between applications that functions as a translation layer. There are a variety of different kinds of middleware. Certain kinds pertain to database programs, some enable programs to connect with each other, and others exchange messages between programs and systems on different networks.

webMethods Inc. was one company offering integration solutions to leading companies in the early 2000s. Its customers included Ford Motor Co., Motorola, Starbucks, Dell, Citibank, and Eastman Chemical. The company's EDI Adaptor version 4.0 helped companies to bridge a strategic gap by supporting their existing EDI systems while they transitioned to newer Internet technologies like XML. According to the company, "While most people agree that 'XML over the Internet' is the strategy of the future, the migration path to XML is not yet clearly defined for many companies. Many of these companies have spent years building their EDI systems and want to leverage their investment. By allowing trading partners to utilize their existing EDI infrastructure, implementation time and cost are reduced."

In 2000, webMethods helped Airborne Expressa leading transportation company that also provides order fulfillment and distribution services for its customersto win the business of a major retailer that was unveiling a new online business. It did this by giving Airborne the ability to communicate and exchange files in XML format, thereby enabling external integration. The capability allowed Airborne to process 10,000 orders daily during the Christmas holiday that year. It also enabled the shipper to improve the level of customer service it provided, because the XML code was easy to review, correct, and change if needed.

TIBCO Software Inc. also provided middleware integration solutions to companies in the early 2000s, including Bell South, Hitachi Semiconductor, Saturn, Ameritrade, Chevron, TNT Logistics North America, 3COM, Netscape, and Philips Medical Systems. Philips Medical Systems provides diagnostic imaging products (including machines used for X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans) and related services to healthcare providers throughout the world. It used TIBCO's ActiveEnterprise software as an internal integration solution. In order to quickly meet the needs of its customers, Philips needed to connect orders it received from them with its factories in real-time. Prior to adopting TIBCO's system, Philips had a patchwork of different computer systems responsible for different functions like sales, manufacturing, and distribution. The company estimated that more than 2,000 different interfaces were needed to connect these systems, which included various business functions, computer applications, and mainframe systems. Not only was this expensive for Philips, it was slow and cumbersome for people trying to do business with them. TIBCO's solution allowed Philips' different systems to interface with one another in real time, providing enormous benefits for the company and the healthcare providers it served.


Baum, David. "Middleware." InfoWorld, November 30, 1992.

. "Middleware to the Rescue." Computerworld, May 10, 1993.

Borck, James R. "Web Commerce From the Ground Up." InfoWorld, August 2, 1999.

Caulfield, Brian. "Systems That Talk Together, Kick Butt Together." eCompany Now, January 2001. Available from

Champy, Jim. "New Infrastructure." Computerworld, February 26, 2001.

Grygo, Eugene. "Bringing Web Exchanges Into the Back EndCompanies consider connecting digital exchange transactions with internal apps." InfoWorld, March 27, 2000.

Leon, Mark. "Online Retail Success Lies Behind the Scenes." InfoWorld, June 12, 2000.

Meehan, Michael. "Vendors Try to Make Middleware More User-Friendly." Computerworld, May 15, 2000.

"Middleware." Tech Encyclopedia, February 23, 2001. Available from

Ryan, Vincent. "WebMethods Links Companies with Trading Partners." Upside, March 2000.

SEE ALSO: Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)

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INTEGRATION. During the colonial and antebellum periods, the southern slave codes were draconian and the slave regimen was harsh, yet chattel slavery was basically incompatible with racial segregation. Although the civil and social status of blacks was rigidly subordinate, blacks and whites often worked side by side, and racial mingling and miscegenation in the South were widespread. Racial segregation, known as Jim Crow in the South, first emerged in the antebellum North, where rights gained by free blacks through the thrust of the Revolution, especially the franchise and rights in court, were subsequently whittled away.

The Reconstruction period (1865–1877) witnessed the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), which recognized African Americans as citizens, accorded them equal protection under the laws, and secured their civic privileges and immunities from state violation. Also at this time, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870), which barred disfranchisement on grounds of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, was passed. But by 1877 white America had wearied of the strains of Reconstruction, abandoning the freedmen and freedwomen to conservative Democratic home rule in the southern states. In the absence of slavery and the strict enforcement of Reconstruction legislation intended to guarantee blacks' civil rights, southern whites reasserted racial dominance through segregation, disfranchisement, and lynching. The federal government sanctioned segregation in the states and practiced it in its agencies; indeed, Jim Crow prevailed in Washington, D.C. The conservative Supreme Court so narrowly interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment (the 1883 Civil Rights Cases) and the Fifteenth Amendment (United States v. Reese, 1876) that African Americans were for the most part denied the intended benefits of emancipation. In 1894, Congress repealed all but seven of the forty-nine sections of the Reconstruction's enforcement provisions in civil rights. In 1896, the Supreme Court endorsed the segregationist principle in Plessy v. Ferguson, proclaiming the constitutionality of a Louisiana law compelling "equal but separate" railroad facilities "for the white and colored races."

Into the 1960s, rigid Jim Crow laws separated blacks and whites virtually everywhere in the South. Despite the Supreme Court's "separate but equal" provision, facilities for blacks were far inferior to those for whites. Whites contended that the Bible justified racial discrimination, and that blacks preferred segregation. Whites in the Northeast, Midwest, and West practiced segregation through social pressure, antimiscegenation ordinances, and racial covenants preventing blacks (and in some areas, other people of color and Jews) from purchasing homes in certain neighborhoods. In 1941 and 1942, white immigrants in Buffalo and Detroit agitated against blacks moving into federally funded housing projects. Asian Americans and Mexican Americans in some western and southwestern communities were subjected to segregated educational facilities, confined to slum housing, and refused service in white-only businesses.

Civil rights activists endeavored to eliminate segregation through the courts and appeals to presidents. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Supreme Court dealt blows to segregation by ruling against the segregation of blacks at universities in Missouri, Texas, and Oklahoma, all-white primaries (Smith v. Allwright, 1944), and segregation on interstate transportation (Morgan v. Virginia, 1946).In 1941, civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph demanded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt desegregate the federal government and defense industries. In response, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, although the Fair Employment Practices Committee, charged with investigating allegations of racial discrimination, proved ineffectual in carrying out its mission.

In 1946, President Harry Truman created a committee to report on violations of civil rights and propose solutions. World War II (1939–1945) had furnished occasions for racial integration in employment, public venues, and housing, but segregationists tried to restore racial hierarchy, viciously attacking black veterans upon their return to the United States. In 1947, the President's Committee on Civil Rights released a report recommending federal legislation and action to outlaw racial assaults, overcome obstacles to enfranchisement, desegregate housing, and address other breaches of civil rights. In 1948, President Truman signed executive orders prohibiting racial discrimination in the civil service (EO 9980) and the armed forces (EO 9981).Although the Korean War (1950–1953) is hailed as the first war fought by an integrated armed forces since the American Revolution, white supremacists attempted to sustain segregation at military bases in the United States and abroad.

The momentum gained by civil rights activists during the 1940s carried into the next decade. The Supreme Court's unanimous 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka found the "equal but separate" provision of Plessy v. Ferguson unconstitutional, thus hastening the decline of segregation. Although the Court determined in 1955 that local school boards were to oversee desegregation in their districts, it set no deadline and thus gave whites little incentive to carry out the order. Al-though many schools in the Midwest, southern border states, and Washington, D.C., desegregated peaceably, southern states allowed schools to circumvent the Supreme Court's Brown rulings by closing down, and repealed compulsory attendance laws so that parents could withdraw children from desegregating schools. During the 1957–1958 school year, nine African American teenagers, backed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (est.1909), integrated into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. White hostility, and Governor Orval Faubus's refusal to ensure state protection of the "Little Rock Nine," compelled President Dwight Eisenhower to deploy federal troops to keep order and safeguard the students.

As civil rights activists grew bolder, they developed strategies of "direct action" to bring about integration, and to that end organized mass sit-ins, boycotts, and marches. Members of the interracial Congress of Racial Equality engaged in sit-ins at segregated eating establishments and "freedom rides" on interstate buses in the 1940s, and joined forces with other integrationist groups in the 1960s. In Montgomery, Alabama, the NAACP launched a yearlong boycott (1955–1956) that accomplished the desegregation of the city's bus system. College students who mobilized sit-ins at southern lunch counters and recreational facilities formed the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, which subsequently organized projects to register black voters in the rural Deep South.

Cold War politics also entered into the issue of segregation. Foreign foes as well as allies of the United States called attention to the contradiction between Americans' claims to advocate freedom, democracy, and equality while subjecting citizens and foreign visitors to racial discrimination. "White-only" hotels, apartments, and restaurants that denied entry to foreign officials of color insulted the visitors and, some critics argued, threatened to harm U.S. foreign relations.

The wide-ranging Civil Rights Act of 1964, which created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 represented the fruits of decades of activism. Yet by the time Congress passed this legislation, some activists doubted that integration was the ultimate solution for achieving racial equality. Black separatists advocated building communities apart from whites, whom they believed would never accept African Americans as equals. In this view, black-only communities would most effectively foster the social and economic progress of their members, and also would allow African Americans to define themselves according to their own values, rather than futilely striving to conform to white society. Critics also contended that integration was a goal of members of the black middle class, who would benefit the most from incorporation into white-dominated capitalist society, and that integration would not solve the economic problems of poorer African Americans. Such ideas influenced SNCC members, whose 1966 election of Stokely Carmichael as chairman over the more moderate John Lewis marked SNCC's shift away from integration as a primary goal and toward radicalism and separatism.

Since the 1960s, integration in the South proved most successful in public schools. The proportion of African American children in the South attending all-black schools dropped from two out of three in 1960 to one out of ten in 1972.In contrast, de facto segregation characterized schools and housing in the North and West during the 1970s and beyond as whites moved out of neighborhoods increasingly populated by people of color. In 1971, the Supreme Court's controversial decision (Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education) on busing to integrate public schools riled parents who considered it an extreme means to achieve racial equality. Into the twenty-first century, colleges and universities, the government, public transportation, professional sports, and other venues experienced varying degrees of integration, although concerns persisted about social and economic inequalities that perpetuated racial separation.


Banner-Haley, Charles T. The Fruits of Integration: Black Middle-Class Ideology and Culture, 1960–1990. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994.

Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High. New York: Pocket Books, 1994.

Brooks, Roy L. Integration or Separation? A Strategy for Racial Equality. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Fairclough, Adam. Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890–2000. New York: Viking, 2001.

King, Desmond. Separate and Unequal: Black Americans and the U.S. Federal Government. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Romano, Renee. "No Diplomatic Immunity: African Diplomats, the State Department, and Civil Rights, 1961–1964." Journal of American History 87, no.2 (Sept.2000): 546–579.

Sitkoff, Harvard. The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954–1992. Rev. ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.


See alsoCivil Rights and Liberties ; Civil Rights Movement ; Desegregation ; Discrimination: Race ; Race Relations ; Segregation .

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Donald Woods Winnicott distinguished three major maternal functions in his study of the role of the environment in the processes of maturation of the infant's ego: holding, which conditions the integration process; handling, which makes possible "personalization" or "psyche indwelling in the soma"; and lastly, object-presenting, which underlies the building of the earliest object relations.

Winnicott essentially expounded the notion of integration in two important papers: "Primitive Emotional Development" (delivered at the November 28, 1945 meeting of the British Psychoanalytical Society) and "Ego-integration in Child Development" (1962).

Integration presupposes the existence of an initial state of nonintegration, on the basis of which the individual, not yet differentiated from his or her environment, tends to become organized into a unique being by the coming together of multiple varied and fragmented experiences. In Winnicott (1981), Claude Geets described the process in these terms: "These early experiences are at first sensory and motor: that which will become an I is at this point only a mass of dispersed, unconnected sensations. At the end of the integration process, there is what Winnicott calls the establishing of a unitary self: the subject (from now on) has the sense of existing as an individual entity" (p. 73).

Two types of experiences intervene in the transition from primary nonintegration to successful integration: first, the care the infant receives, "whereby an infant is kept warm, handled and bathed and rocked and named" (Winnicott, 1945/1958, p. 140), and second, the acute instinctual experiences that "tend to gather the personality together from within" (p. 140). Indeed, Winnicott very strongly emphasized the effects of the encounter between the (future) subject and the object, the impact of which is central, according to him, in the constitution of the infant's self.

Nonintegration thus has a natural place in the course of the individual's development, and every individual temporarily returns to that state during moments of rest, relaxation, or dreams, provided that he or she has enough trust in the environment to yield to this regressive movement. Winnicott linked creativity and artistic experience in adults to the ability to remain in contact with this nonintegrated, primitive self, just as the subject must be able to experience a return to a state of nonintegration in psychoanalysis.

Nonintegration is thus a positive, structuring phenomenon that must be clearly distinguished from disintegration of the personality (or fear of disintegration). The latter is to be situated within the realm of psychopathology as a modality of defense against a return to a state of nonintegration, for in Winnicott's view, madness is never a regression, but instead a last, pathetic resort against regression.

Bernard Golse

See also: False self; Good-enough mother; Handling; Holding; Paranoid-schizoid position; Self (true/false).


Geets, Claude. (1981). Winnicott. Paris:Éditions Universitaires J.-P. Delarge.

Squiggle Foundation. (1988). Winnicott studies. The journal of the Squiggle Foundation. A celebration of the life and work of Marion Milner, No. 3. London: Squiggle Foundation, 1988.

Winnicott, Donald W. (1958). Primitive emotional development. In Collected papers: Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis (pp. 145-156). London: Tavistock Publications. (Reprinted from International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 26 (1945), 137-143.)

. (1965). Ego-integration in child development. The maturational processes and the facilitating environment (pp. 56-63). London: Hogarth and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. (Original work published 1962)

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in·te·gra·tion / ˌintiˈgrāshən/ • n. 1. the action or process of integrating: economic and political integration integration of individual countries into trading blocs. ∎  the intermixing of people or groups previously segregated: integration is the best hope for both black and white Americans. 2. Math. the finding of an integral or integrals: integration of an ordinary differential equation | mathematical integrations. 3. Psychol. the coordination of processes in the nervous system, including diverse sensory information and motor impulses: visuomotor integration. ∎  Psychoanalysis the process by which a well-balanced psyche becomes whole as the developing ego organizes the id, and the state that results or that treatment seeks to create or restore by countering the fragmenting effect of defense mechanisms. DERIVATIVES: in·te·gra·tion·ist / -nist/ n.

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integration (social)

integration (social) In functionalist theory, the term integration is fundamental, and describes ‘a mode of relation of the units of a system by virtue of which, on the one hand, they act so as collectively to avoid disrupting the system and making it impossible to maintain its stability, and, on the other hand, to “co-operate” to promote its functioning as a unity’ ( Talcott Parsons, Essays in Sociological Theory, 1954
). In other theoretical traditions it is often used more loosely as a synonym for social consensus. See also EQUILIBRIUM; SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND SYSTEM INTEGRATION.

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integration (in neurophysiology) The coordination within the brain of separate but related nervous processes. For example, sensory information from the inner ear and the eye are both necessary for the sense of balance. These stimuli must be integrated by the brain not only with each other but also with various motor nerves, which coordinate the muscles that control posture.

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see also Science and Religion, Models and Relations; Science and Religion, Methodologies

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integration See integral calculus

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