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Unmarried partners: a comparison of Anglos, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans using assimilation theory
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Prior to 1970, cohabitation was rarely addressed in sociological journals, especially regarding interracial cohabitation. However, in the late 1970's and early 1980's, our awareness of heterosexual and homosexual cohabitation has significantly increased to what is now a prevalently studied household formation. In this thesis, I apply Milton Gordon's assimilation perspective to heterosexual, gay and lesbian unmarried partners. In the assimilation perspective, Gordon (1964) asserts that minority members gradually take on the characteristics of the majority culture. Cultural assimilation, such as speaking English at home, increases as the minority members become more assimilated into the majority culture. Further, structural assimilation, seen as entrance into and participation in social institutions such as education and military further assimilates the minority individual into society. As a result of assimilation into these majority institutions, individuals will increase their educational attainment and thus have more opportunities to interact, live with, and possibly marry a majority member. Moreover, Gordon (1964) suggests that as a minority individual's income increases, the assimilation of that individual also occurs, because individuals no longer compete in a local labor market, but rather in a national labor market. Further, through the military, Anglo men would have more opportunity to meet, live with, and marry minority women. Therefore, Gordon (1964) asserts that cultural and structural assimilation results in interracial and interethnic marriage. I extend Gordon's argument in this thesis by moving an examination of cultural and structural assimilation beyond interracial or interethnic marriage into interracial heterosexual, lesbian, and gay cohabitation. My sample is derived from data from ninety-two metropolitan statistical areas with populations of 500,000 or more, using 1990 PUMS. I find that Gordon's cultural and structural assimilation does not seem to fully predict interracial heterosexual or homosexual cohabitation. However, the assimilation theory applies best to interracial heterosexual partners. I suggest that the Census Bureau, a federal agency, must follow the Federal Defense Act of Marriage, and thus, creates and reinforces a heteronormative institution. Finally, I argue that Gordon fails to associate levels of power among Anglos and non-Anglos, as well as, lacking a clear understanding of different racial histories in the United States.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 109-119).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Walther, Carol Sue (2001). Unmarried partners: a comparison of Anglos, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans using assimilation theory. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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