Symbolic Ethnicity and American Jews: The Relationship of Ethnic Identity to Behavior and Group Affiliation

Abstract
A variant of straight-line assimilation theory, symbolic ethnicity theory predicts an attenuation of the connection between ethnic identity & both ethnic behavior & group affiliation, the result of persistent or heightened interest in the former & decline in the latter. This thesis is tested here, using 1989 mail survey data from 435 residents of a midwestern urban Jewish community. Employing Steven M. Cohen’s typology of Jewish involvement (American Assimilation or Jewish Revival? Bloomington: Indiana U Press, 1988) to assess levels of ethnic behavior & affiliation, an attempt is made to determine whether manifestations of ethnic identity have behavioral & affiliative consequences. Results fail to support the symbolic ethnicity theory. 2 Tables. Adapted from the source document.

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