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The Imperative of Integration
Elizabeth Anderson

Winner of the 2011 Joseph B. Gittler Award, The American Philosophical Association
One of Choice's Significant University Press Titles for Undergraduates for 2010-2011

Paperback | 2013 | $23.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691158112
Hardcover | 2010 | $55.00 | £45.95 | ISBN: 9780691139814
264 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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More than forty years have passed since Congress, in response to the Civil Rights Movement, enacted sweeping antidiscrimination laws in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. As a signal achievement of that legacy, in 2008, Americans elected their first African American president. Some would argue that we have finally arrived at a postracial America, but The Imperative of Integration indicates otherwise. Elizabeth Anderson demonstrates that, despite progress toward racial equality, African Americans remain disadvantaged on virtually all measures of well-being. Segregation remains a key cause of these problems, and Anderson skillfully shows why racial integration is needed to address these issues. Weaving together extensive social science findings--in economics, sociology, and psychology--with political theory, this book provides a compelling argument for reviving the ideal of racial integration to overcome injustice and inequality, and to build a better democracy.

Considering the effects of segregation and integration across multiple social arenas, Anderson exposes the deficiencies of racial views on both the right and the left. She reveals the limitations of conservative explanations for black disadvantage in terms of cultural pathology within the black community and explains why color blindness is morally misguided. Multicultural celebrations of group differences are also not enough to solve our racial problems. Anderson provides a distinctive rationale for affirmative action as a tool for promoting integration, and explores how integration can be practiced beyond affirmative action.

Offering an expansive model for practicing political philosophy in close collaboration with the social sciences, this book is a trenchant examination of how racial integration can lead to a more robust and responsive democracy.


"[A] real tour de force of philosophical argumentation utilizing social science data."--Brian Leiter, Leiter Reports blog

"[T]his book is an impressive addition to the growing literature in so-called 'non-ideal' political theory, which as Anderson herself notes, begins 'from a diagnosis of injustices in our actual world, rather than from a picture of an ideal world.'"--Andrew Peirce, Philosophy in Review

"There are social, academic and economic benefits to integration--the evidence for which is so powerfully represented in Elizabeth Andreson's award-winning book, The Imperative of Integration."--Jonathan Jansen, The Times


"This book is beautifully and clearly argued at the highest philosophical level and, at the same time, attentive to social and historical realities. It offers a compelling vision of an ideal of integration that has largely been lost to view. Whether or not you agree with her, Elizabeth Anderson has staked out a position that all serious thinking about American race relations must now contend with."--Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Ethics of Identity

"The Imperative of Integration accomplishes two important things: It demonstrates--using rigorous social scientific analysis--that racial segregation is the root cause of the continuing social disadvantage of African Americans. And it argues persuasively--using subtle philosophical reasoning--that in light of American history, a concerted effort to integrate our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces is the only path forward consistent with a commitment to social justice. Serious students of contemporary American society will want to read this book."--Glenn Loury, Brown University

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Table of Contents:

Preface ix
Chapter One: Segregation and Social Inequality 1
Chapter Two: Racial Segregation and Material Inequality in the United States 23
Chapter Three: Segregation, Racial Stigma, and Discrimination 44
Chapter Four: Racial Segregation Today: A Normative Assessment 67
Chapter Five: Democratic Ideals and Segregation 89
Chapter Six: The Imperative of Integration 112
Chapter Seven: Understanding Affirmative Action 135
Chapter Eight: The Folly and Incoherence of Color Blindness 155
Chapter Nine: The Ordeal and Promise of Integration 180
Notes 193
Index 239

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