Migrant superordination occurs principally in countries that are colonized by outsiders, and U.S. history provides a classic example of this process.
The superordinate/subordinate relationships that result from migrant superordination processes can take economic, political, and cultural forms. Such relationships are characterized by the institutionalization of dominant-minority relations in which the migrants enjoy disproportionate power, resources, and prestige. Power relationships are then justified by systems of beliefs that rationalize the superiority of the immigrant groups in relation to the indigenous peoples.
Reactions to migrant superordination on the part of the indigenous peoples may range from physical resistance and rebellion to accommodation and assimilation. Historical examples of migrant superordination include the European conquest of Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere and of Africans in South Africa.
Cook, Terrence E. Separation, Assimilation, or Accommodation: Contrasting Ethnic Minority Policies. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003. Zølner, Mette. Re-imagining the Nation: Debates on Immigrants, Identities and Memories. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.
History of immigration, 1620-1783
History of immigration, 1783-1891
World migration patterns