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Reshaping Ethnic Relations

Reshaping Ethnic Relations: Immigrants in a Divided City

Copyright Date: 1994
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Reshaping Ethnic Relations
    Book Description:

    What happens when people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds come together to live and work in the same neighborhood? Unlike other examinations of this question that focus on one group, this book looks at the interaction of both old and new immigrant populations in three Philadelphia neighborhoods.

    In this ethnographic study, which is a result of the Ford Foundation-funded Changing Relations: Newcomers and Established Residents in Philadelphia Project, the authors consider five primary groups-whites, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and Eastern Europeans-in Olney, Kensington, and Port Richmond. Focusing on the interaction of racial, ethnic, and immigrant communities in schools, organized community celebrations and social events, the workplace, shopping areas, and neighborhood politics, the authors show that the contradictions of individual beliefs, actions, and strategies of power are not easily resolved.

    By examining the local, citywide, and national economy and government, previous human relations efforts, changing immigration patterns, community-level power structures, real estate turnover, and gentrification, the authors evaluate current strategies to create harmony in communities with an ever-changing mix of established residents and newly arrived immigrants. Through their findings, Judith Goode and Jo Anne Schneider develop better alternatives that will encourage understanding and cooperation among different racial and ethnic groups sharing their lives and neighborhoods.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0477-0
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. MAPS
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    Each of these examples shows intergroup relations to be complicated and confused. Each draws on a range of structural and historical information to create a view of people from different groups. Disentangling these many factors in intergroup relations is itself a complicated and confusing task. This book draws on two years of study in three Philadelphia neighborhoods—Olney, Kensington, and Port Richmond—to address an emerging and vital issue: How do racial and ethnic dynamics change once the country is no longer Black and white?

    Answering this question requires looking at current events and historical experience at the nationat citywide,...


    • CHAPTER 2 The Political Economy of Philadelphia
      (pp. 29-60)

      Several structural factors distinguish Philadelphia from other cities in the national Changing Relations Project, among them the historical dynamic between African Americans and white ethnics. In recent decades, the city has been almost evenly divided in terms of standard racial categories, a template that plays a strong role in views of difference. Yet African Americans are very diverse. Included are a disproportionate number of very poor people living in the largest number of highly segregated census tracts in the country, as well as a very large and visible middle class that has achieved increasing prominence in Philadelphia’s power structure. The...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Effects of New Immigration on Social Categories and Human-Relations Institutions
      (pp. 61-96)

      In the 1970s, new immigrants arriving in Philadelphia entered a setting that defined social difference by experience with turn-of-the-century immigration from Europe and by relationships between African Americans and whites. As the effects of immigration reform brought more newcomers to the city, new possibilities for social differentiation, conflict, accommodation, and coalition emerged. This chapter describes the ways in which the racial dyad and the model of cultural pluralism affected the categorization of new immigrants and, in turn, how experience with new immigrants affected the perception of the racial dyad and the pluralist model.

      Notions of difference are socially constructed on...


    • CHAPTER 4 Neighborhood Structures and Community Organizations
      (pp. 99-134)

      Chapters 4, 5, and 6 move our viewpoint from citywide structures to local settings, where much of life is experienced. This chapter describes the nature of neighborhood social structures and organizations as they developed in response to historical change and citywide pressures. Chapters 5 and 6 look at two aspects of local social process—everyday life and focus events. The latter include both celebrations and crises, which create a heightened consciousness of diversity. Local differences affect the nature of both everyday life and focus events.

      Not all neighborhoods in Philadelphia felt the effects of macrostructural changes in the same way....

    • CHAPTER 5 Everyday Activities: Personal Ties and Structured Institutions
      (pp. 135-168)

      Within each neighborhood, everyday activities bring people into varied situations that play a role in structuring contact and forming ideas about social differences. The daily lives of adults take them into many different settings where they sometimes intimately and sometimes impersonally interact with people from other groups. They also observe interactions between others, as well as participating in conversations about individuals and groups. This chapter describes two aspects of everyday social reality: the intimate, trusting personal relationships of individuals and the structure of public institutions that channel their contacts. Our observations of the personal social networks and daily activities of...

    • CHAPTER 6 Focus Events
      (pp. 169-206)

      The many different aspects of everyday life crystallize into equally complicated patterns during events that highlight diversity. These include formal events designed to bring people from different ethnic, racial, and national groups together to celebrate ethnicity or to create mutual respect. They also include crises such as a cross-group killing or an argument over community identity involving different groups. These instances evoke symbols beyond the actual occurrences, creating memories that reverberate throughout the community over time and patterns of behavior or organized efforts that alter the dynamics of local intergroup relations. These “focus events” necessarily draw the most sustained attention...


    • CHAPTER 7 Simultaneous Contradictions
      (pp. 209-241)

      We have documented contradictory beliefs and actions throughout this book. Residents of Kensington, Olney, and Port Richmond hold both positive and negative views of newcomers and established residents, of members of minority and majority groups. As in the case of the Korean sign incident, people can work together amicably on a daily basis, yet devolve into angry subcommunities when an issue strikes them in a particular way. People who have friends from different backgrounds can distrust and malign the same group as a whole or the city officials or organization representatives who come from outside their neighborhood. Like the friendly...

    • CHAPTER 8 Strategies for Action
      (pp. 242-260)

      Interaction patterns in Philadelphia between new immigrants and established residents, whites and people of color, are complex and contradictory. The economic and social history of the city shapes the ways in which people from different backgrounds come together. New immigrants come to a city with historically defined white ethnic neighborhoods and a segregated African American population. The prevalence of affordable housing in Philadelphia allows upwardly mobile people of color and new immigrants to move into neighborhoods once dominated by whites from a variety of backgrounds. At the same time, a white population whose image of African Americans and Latinos rests...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 261-266)
    (pp. 267-276)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 277-282)