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NativismThe term Nativism is used in both politics and psychology in two fundamentally different ways.
This form of nationalism often identified with xenophobia, anti-Catholic sentiment (anti-papist) and ideas of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacy. In California, nativists vented their resentment against the Chinese. In the south, during Reconstruction and again in the 1920s, nativist Ku Klux Klan members were as intolerant of Catholics as of blacks. Nativist sentiment experienced a revival in the 1880s, in response to new waves of immigation. It was involved in several anti-Catholic riots in the late 19th century, including the Philadelphia Nativist Riots. In 1928, nativist bias was an important feature of the defeat of Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, a Catholic. During World War II, 'nativist' undercurrents fueled the Japanese American Internment.
American nativist resentment experienced a resurgence in the late 20th century, this time directed at 'illegal aliens,' largely Asian and Mexican.
Compare White Australia policy
Nativism is most associated with the work of Jerry Fodor, Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker, who argue that we are born with certain cognitive models (specialised genetically inherited psychological abilities) that allow us to learn and acquire certain skills (such as language). They argue that many such abilities would otherwise be greatly impaired without this genetic contribution (see universal grammar for an example).
Psychologist Annette Karmiloff-Smith has put forward a theory known as the representational redescription or RR model of development which argues against such strict nativism and which proposes that the brain may become modular through experience within certain domains (such as social interaction or visual perception) rather than modules being genetically pre-specified.
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