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The *state, the noncitizen, and the challenge of bilateral legitimacy in the United States, *Canada, and Australia

Alicia Marie Rampulla, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The dissertation sets out a theory to explain the ways in which three liberal-democratic, immigrant-accepting nations maintained state authority in the face of increasing cultural diversity. The challenge of bilateral legitimacy involves state attempts to engender support for itself, as well as assessments regarding which noncitizens have legitimate claims to join the polity. Those deemed unable (certain people of color, especially those lacking financial and educational resources) or unwilling (those refusing to relinquish allegiance to their ancestral homelands) to embrace state legitimacy are considered illegitimate or unwelcome guests in the polity. In order to reinforce the unity of the members of each community, and, consequently, the authority of the state that governs them, a shared sense of culture, of social mores and traditions, is encouraged. In the American, Australian, and Canadian cases, the shared identity that is the crux of national unity is Anglo-Saxonism. ^ Major domestic and international events in the 1960s through the 1980s led to an influx of non-Anglo immigrants and refugees to these nations. Since overtly racist policies were no longer feasible (due to social movements within their borders and throughout the globe), the states utilized metaphoric models and designed immigration and refugee policies to mitigate threats allegedly posed by increases in cultural diversity. Though the three nations erased much of the overt discrimination in the texts of their national policies by the mid-1960s/early 1970s, implicit bias allowed for inegalitarian implementation. The states perceived themselves, and their national futures, to be at risk if Anglo-Saxon values and traditions were diluted. Anglo-Saxon dominance was tied directly to the vitality of the nation. ^

Subject Area

Law|Political science

Recommended Citation

Rampulla, Alicia Marie, "The *state, the noncitizen, and the challenge of bilateral legitimacy in the United States, *Canada, and Australia" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3193935.