Large-scale emigration from the Dominican Republic began in the
early 1960s, with most Dominicans settling in New York City. Since
then the growth of the city's Dominican population has been
staggering, now accounting for around 7 percent of the total
populace. How have Dominicans influenced New York City? And,
conversely, how has the move to New York affected their lives? In
Making New York Dominican, Christian Krohn-Hansen
considers these questions through an exploration of Dominican
immigrants' economic and political practices and through their
constructions of identity and belonging.
Krohn-Hansen focuses especially on Dominicans in the small business
sector, in particular the bodega and supermarket and taxi and black
car industries. While studies of immigrant business and
entrepreneurship have been predominantly quantitative, using survey
data or public statistics, this work employs business ethnography
to demonstrate how Dominican enterprises work, how people find
economic openings, and how Dominicans who own small commercial
ventures have formed political associations to promote and defend
their interests. The study shows convincingly how Dominican
businesses over the past three decades have made a substantial mark
on New York neighborhoods and the city's political economy.
Making New York Dominican is not about a Dominican enclave
or a parallel sociocultural universe. It is instead about
connections-between Dominican New Yorkers' economic and political
practices and ways of thinking and the much larger historical,
political, economic, and cultural field within which they operate.
Throughout, Krohn-Hansen underscores that it is crucial to analyze
four sets of processes: the immigrants' forms of work, their
everyday life, their modes of participation in political life, and
their negotiation and building of identities. Making New York
Dominican offers an original and significant contribution to
the scholarship on immigration, the Latinization of New York, and
contemporary forms of globalization.
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