Cover: Still the Promised City? in PAPERBACK

Still the Promised City?

African-Americans and New Immigrants in Postindustrial New York

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Product Details


$39.00 • £31.95 • €35.00

ISBN 9780674000728

Publication Date: 11/15/1999


384 pages

5-11/16 x 8-7/8 inches

26 line illustrations, 14 tables


A devastating refutation of the mismatch thesis, which assumes that the decline of manufacturing jobs has doomed inner-city blacks.—Fred Siegel, The Wall Street Journal

Waldinger avoids facile generalizations about immigrants taking jobs that poor Americans (read African Americans) ‘ought’ to have… [He] offers tough (though not jargon-ridden) sociological analysis.—Edward Countryman, The Washington Post Book World

A pathbreaking empirical and theoretical contribution. Using incredibly nuanced empirical evidence, Waldinger describes and explains the tendency for groups to develop and to maintain job concentrations. He then assesses the impact of this finding on a wide range of theories about group disadvantage… All this is done with a minimum of jargon and a maximum of clarity, making for a volume that should be required reading for anyone interested in immigration.—Suzanne Model, Contemporary Sociology

In his deeply informed, penetrating analysis of race and work in New York’s twentieth-century political economy, Roger Waldinger quickly takes issue with two prevailing paradigms. The first of these contends that the city’s new service and information economies have no place for unlettered, unskilled minorities (the mismatch theory); the second argues that the proliferation of managerial and professional workers requires an enormous support cast of ‘service’ employees, of which minorities are an inordinate percentage (the world cities approach). Such arguments, Waldinger claims, create deus ex machina which miss the social paths through which people gain jobs or not… Waldinger’s analysis is among the best-informed and sophisticated contemporary analysis of race and work in a twentieth-century metropolis that I have read. By privileging historical evidence above a universalistic theory, his conclusions that ethnic niches will sustain the animosities over work that have discoloured New York’s past. His is not an optimistic opinion, but it is exceptionally well-grounded. This books will be of compelling interest to students of race relations in any city beyond New York, particularly, I think, London, the midland cities, and Cape Town.—Graham Russelll Hodges, Ethnic and Racial Studies [UK]

Awards & Accolades

  • 1998 Robert E. Park Award, Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association
  • 1997 Best Book Award, Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association
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