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in anthropology, social movement that proclaims the return to power of the natives of a colonized area and the resurgence of native culture, along with the decline of the colonizers. The term has also been used to refer to a widespread attitude in a society of a rejection of alien persons or culture. Nativism occurs within almost all areas of nonindustrial culture known to anthropologists. One of the earliest careful studies of nativism was that of James Mooney (1896), who studied the Ghost Dance among Native Americans of the W United States. In 1943, Ralph Linton published a brief paper on nativistic movements that served to establish the phenomenon as a special topic in anthropological studies of culture change.


See A. Wallace, The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca (1972) and J. Higham, Strangers in the Land (1988).


  1. (PSYCHOLOGY) the theoretical stance which emphasizes the importance of heredity, the biological underpinnings of human behaviour, rather than the effect of the environment.
  2. the negative orientation of any indigenous population to immigrants. See also NATURE–NURTURE DEBATE.


Nativism is dedicated to the proposition that the United States was founded to serve only white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Nativism is a defensive, often violent, reaction to unrestricted immigration. In the United States, nativism is an intense form of nationalism that expresses itself in xenophobia (fear of foreigners), anti-Catholicism, and belief in white Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacy.

In 1848, after a series of European revolutions had rocked the Old World, approximately three million immigrants arrived in the United States. Negative reaction to the influx was intensified among the postcolonial Protestant majority on the East Coast because many of the new arrivals happened to be from Roman Catholic countries.

Secret societies, such as the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, organized by Charles B. Allen in 1849, had memberships of “Godfearing Protestants,” who were dedicated to ensuring that native-born, non-Catholic Americans would receive preferential treatment in all avenues of social and political society. Members of such secret groups became known as the “Know-Nothings” because none of them would admit knowing anything about the clandestine societies. The Nativists gained strength and some degree of respectability when they went public in 1854 and established the American Party. The new political group was strongly anti-Irish-Catholic and worked for legislation that would require twenty-one years of waiting time before anyone could become a U.S. citizen. The American Party lost its influence when former president Millard Fillmore, the party’s presidential candidate in the election of 1856, was soundly defeated.

References in periodicals archive ?
Although nativism is one of the most salient aspects of Asian American experience, Professor Ancheta's argument that Asian Americans are not affected by the color axis seems overstated since nativistic arguments are aimed at those who are classified as non-White.
The revived Confucian values are no longer fundamentalist representation of nativistic ideas; they are, by and large, transvaluated traditional values compatible with and commensurate to the main thrust of modern ideology defined in term of Enlightenment ideas.
The Cartesian account offers an essentially nativistic theory of linguistic and rational powers, citing the fact, in Chomskian fashion, as if it were an explanation.
Rather, it was parochial and nativistic politically because the concerned rebels were either half-Arabized themselves (e.
40) This was essentially a nativistic idiom rooted in a part of the territory of Sindh.
As Jones describes (1992: Chapter 6), nativistic movements soon emerged to counter the large-scale immigration patterns of the mid-1800s.
Then, the authors compare the implications of this literature from the perspective of nativistic and behavioral frameworks.
In addition, it is argued that if peace activists do not raise the question of assistance to the Israeli government on grounds of human rights, international law, and Israel's own self-interest, the only ones left to do so will be those on the right who appeal to nativistic or even anti-Semitic sentiments.
This question is examined in reference to nativistic and learning theory frameworks.
It became an important nationalistic and nativistic movement before the collapse of the Choson state and during the Japanese colonial period.
A Nativistic and Millenarian Movement in North West Australia,' in Aboriginal Australians and Christian Missions, T.
In South Africa I encountered it in the context of tribal religions and nativistic movements.