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Gender and U.S. Immigration

Gender and U.S. Immigration: Contemporary Trends

EDITED BY Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 402
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  • Book Info
    Gender and U.S. Immigration
    Book Description:

    Resurgent immigration is one of the most powerful forces disrupting and realigning everyday life in the United States and elsewhere, and gender is one of the fundamental social categories anchoring and shaping immigration patterns. Yet the intersection of gender and immigration has received little attention in contemporary social science literature and immigration research. This book brings together some of the best work in this area, including essays by pioneers who have logged nearly two decades in the field of gender and immigration, and new empirical work by both young scholars and well-established social scientists bringing their substantial talents to this topic for the first time.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92986-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo

    • CHAPTER 1 Gender and Immigration: A Retrospective and Introduction
      (pp. 3-19)
      Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo

      The intent of this volume is both modest and ambitious. High-caliber social science research has emerged on gender and U.S.-bound immigration in recent years, and this book simply draws together some of the best new work in the field. The book includes essays by pioneers who have logged nearly two decades in the field of gender and immigration, and new empirical work by both young scholars and well-established social scientists who bring their substantial talents to this topic for the first time. More ambitiously, this volume seeks to alert scholars and students to some of the gender consequences emerging from...

    • CHAPTER 2 Engendering Migration Studies: The Case of New Immigrants in the United States
      (pp. 20-42)
      Patricia R. Pessar

      This review highlights contributions made by scholars who have treated gender as a central organizing principle in migration, and it suggests some promising lines for future inquiry. When gender is brought to the foreground in migration studies, a host of significant topics emerge. These include how and why women and men experience migration differently and how this contrast affects such processes as settlement, return, and transmigration. A gendered perspective demands a scholarly reengagement with those institutions and ideologies immigrants create and encounter in the “home” and “host” countries in order to determine how patriarchy organizes family life, work, community associations,...

    • CHAPTER 3 Strategic Instantiations of Gendering in the Global Economy
      (pp. 43-60)
      Saskia Sassen

      Economic globalization has multiple localizations, many of which typically go unrecognized. One such localization is constituted by the set of global circuits focused on in this essay. These are cross-border circuits in which the role of women, and especially the condition of being a foreign woman, is crucial. These circuits include illegal trafficking in women and children for the sex industry; the mostly illegal trafficking in migrant workers that is a growing source of profit for both legal and illegal contractors; and, more generally, emigration that has become an important source of hard currency for governments in home countries. The...


    • CHAPTER 4 The Global Context of Gendered Labor Migration from the Philippines to the United States
      (pp. 63-80)
      James A. Tyner

      Throughout the 20th century, international labor migration from the Philippines has exhibited a shift both in global points of destination and in gender composition. Large-scale emigration from the Philippines began in response to labor shortages on U.S.-owned sugar plantations in Hawaii. Between 1907 and 1929, more than 102,000 Filipinos were recruited to work on these plantations: approximately 87% of these migrants were men (Teodoro, 1981). During the 1920s and 1930s, additional migratory flows developed as a response to labor shortages throughout the western portion of the continental United States, and this migratory system was likewise dominated by male laborers.¹


    • CHAPTER 5 Gender and Labor in Asian Immigrant Families
      (pp. 81-100)
      Yen Le Espiritu

      Through the process of migration and settlement, patriarchal relations undergo continual negotiation as women and men rebuild their lives in the new country. An important task in the study of immigration has been to examine this reconfiguration of gender relations. Central to the reconfiguration of gender hierarchies is the change in immigrant women’s and men’s relative positions of power and status in the country of settlement. Theoretically, migration may improve women’s social position if it leads to increased participation in wage employment, more control over earnings, and greater participation in family decision making (Pessar, 1984). Alternatively, migration may leave gender...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Intersection of Work and Gender: Central American Immigrant Women and Employment in California
      (pp. 101-126)
      Cecilia Menjívar

      This essay examines the effects of immigration on gender relations among Central American women. I focus on these women’s experiences in relation to the immigrant men’s situations and assess how immigration affects their gendered perceptions of work. Building on the work of others (Glenn, 1986; Zavella, 1987), I examine the differential effect of U.S. employment for Central American men and women and how this, in turn, affects these immigrants’ perceptions of work. This approach allows for a more complex examination of how gender relations are transformed or affirmed through contemporary immigration, as sociocultural patterns and broader forces are configured differently...

    • CHAPTER 7 Israeli and Russian Jews: Gendered Perspectives on Settlement and Return Migration
      (pp. 127-148)
      Steven J. Gold

      The study of gendered settlement decisions offers a valuable corrective to models of migration that either ignore gender or understand migrant gender relations in terms of idealized cooperative family arrangements. By examining how women and men adapt to host societies and evaluate plans to stay on or return, scholars demonstrate that a group’s presence in a new national setting causes women and men to encounter distinct structures of opportunity and consequently transforms their relations with each other (Grasmuck & Pessar, 1991; Hirsch, 1999; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1994, 1995; Kibria, 1993; Pessar, 1999).

      Studies of Latina and Asian immigrant women reveal that while...


    • CHAPTER 8 Gendered Ethnicity: Creating a Hindu Indian Identity in the United States
      (pp. 151-173)
      Prema Kurien

      This essay examines the central role played by gender in the creation of ethnic communities and cultures among Hindu Indian immigrants. Gender relations and constructs are reworked during the course of immigration and settlement and are crucial to the Hindu American ethnicity developed in the United States. There is a contradiction in the literature on gender and migration among Indian Americans. One body of literature describes the settlement process as leading to women’s empowerment and to greater gender equality (Bhutani, 1994; Rangaswamy, 1996; Rayaprol, 1997). However, another body of literature argues that in the process of creating an Indian ethnicity...

    • CHAPTER 9 Disentangling Race-Gender Work Experiences: Second-Generation Caribbean Young Adults in New York City
      (pp. 174-193)
      Nancy Lopez

      At the beginning of the 21st century, an unusual gender gap in educational attainment has emerged in the United States. Women from all racial and ethnic groups attain higher levels of schooling than men (Reaching the Top,1999). Some predict that by 2007 the gender gap will reach 2.3 million, with 9.2 million women enrolled in college and only 6.9 million men (Lewin, 1998). Although this phenomenon is relatively new among groups that have been racial(ized) as Whites, women from groups that have been defined as racial minorities have historically reached higher levels of education than their male counterparts.¹ In the...

    • CHAPTER 10 Gendered Geographies of Home: Mapping Second- and Third-Generation Puerto Ricans’ Sense of Home
      (pp. 194-214)
      Maura I. Toro-Morn and Marixsa Alicea

      The idea for this essay developed over a series of conversations we had about what “home” means to us given our di ff erent personal stories. Maura was born and raised in Puerto Rico and migrated to the Midwest in the early 1980s, whereas Marixsa was born and raised in Chicago and lived on the island for only several months at a time. In sharing stories about our upbringing, we noted the complexities and contradictions that made up our notions of “home.”¹ In the face of the racism, classism, and otherness that we felt in U.S. society and in the...


    • CHAPTER 11 De madres a hijas: Gendered Lessons on Virginity across Generations of Mexican Immigrant Women
      (pp. 217-240)
      Gloria González-López

      This essay examines the content of what Mexican immigrant women teach their daughters about sexuality, and specifically, about premarital virginity. Using data collected from in-depth interviews with Mexican immigrant women living in Los Angeles, I analyze how Mexican women provide sex education for their daughters in the United States. My thesis is that what these mothers teach their daughters about sexuality and virginity reflects generational relations, regional patriarchies(machismos regionales),and immigration experiences.

      Virginity has long been a focus among those analyzing Mexican women’s sexuality. In the extant scholarship, the practice ofmexicanaspreserving premarital virginity is largely attributed to...

    • CHAPTER 12 Raising Children, and Growing Up, across National Borders: Comparative Perspectives on Age, Gender, and Migration
      (pp. 241-262)
      Barrie Thorne, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Wan Shun Eva Lam and Anna Chee

      The participation of children in processes of migration came to the world’s attention in 1999 through the widely reported saga of Elián González, a 5-year-old Cuban boy who became the focus of a child-custody struggle among members of a transnational family. Elián was rescued from the ocean off the coast of Florida after his mother and stepfather drowned when their boat capsized on the way to the United States. He was taken to the Miami home of his great-uncle, a Cuban émigré, who assumed temporary custody of the “unaccompanied minor” (the 5-year-old’s classification under U.S. immigration law). Claiming that women...

    • CHAPTER 13 “We Don’t Sleep Around Like White Girls Do”: Family, Culture, and Gender in Filipina American Lives
      (pp. 263-284)
      Yen Le Espiritu

      Focusing on the relationship between Filipino immigrant parents and their daughters, this essay argues that gender is a key to immigrant identity and a vehicle for racialized immigrants to assert cultural superiority over the dominant group. In immigrant communities, culture takes on a special significance: it forms not only a lifeline to the home country and a basis for group identity in a new country but also a base from which immigrants stake their political and sociocultural claims on their new country (Eastmond, 1993, p. 40). For Filipino immigrants, who come from a homeland that was once a U.S. colony,...


    • CHAPTER 14 Engendering Transnational Migration: A Case Study of Salvadorans
      (pp. 287-316)
      Sarah J. Mahler

      Over the past two decades, a northeastern section of El Salvador (northern La Unión department) has become tightly networked transnationally to towns on Long Island, a New York City suburban region. The principal stimulus behind this unlikely connection was the Salvadoran civil war (1979–1992). Northern La Unión experienced repeated guerrilla-military combat during the war owing largely to its location in a remote, rural, mountainous, and arid region of the country. The area’s populace, largely peasant, was victimized by both sides—including forcible recruitment, rape, and pillage. Thousands fled the terror, the majority moving to Long Island and Houston. In...

    • CHAPTER 15 “I’m Here, but I’m There”: The Meanings of Latina Transnational Motherhood
      (pp. 317-340)
      Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Ernestine Avila

      While mothering is generally understood as practice that involves the preservation, nurturance, and training of children for adult life (Ruddick, 1989), there are many contemporary variants distinguished by race, class, and culture (Collins, 1994; Dill, 1988, 1994; Glenn, 1994). Latina immigrant women who work and reside in the United States while their children remain in their countries of origin constitute one variation in the organizational arrangements, meanings, and priorities of motherhood. We call this arrangement “transnational motherhood,” and we explore how the meanings of motherhood are rearranged to accommodate these spatial and temporal separations. In the United States, there is...

    • CHAPTER 16 Gender, Status, and the State in Transnational Spaces: The Gendering of Political Participation and Mexican Hometown Associations
      (pp. 341-358)
      Luin Goldring

      This essay examines the gendering of Mexican transmigrant¹ political participation² in the context of hometown associations. I argue that the politics of Mexicans in the United States, whether oriented toward Mexico or the United States, are not gender neutral. On the whole, hometown organizations represent a privileged arena for men’s homeland-oriented political activity. This masculine gendered project works for several reasons. Mexican men tend to experience a relatively greater loss of gender and social status in the United States. Consequently, Mexico-oriented activities, such as the community-oriented projects carried out through these organizations, provide an important vehicle for gaining status and...

    • CHAPTER 17 “The Blue Passport”: Gender and the Social Process of Naturalization among Dominican Immigrants in New York City
      (pp. 359-378)
      Audrey Singer and Greta Gilbertson

      The formal acquisition of citizenship through naturalization has received little attention in the migration literature. In this research we look at the process of how immigrants become citizens, focusing on how they act and perceive citizenship rather than evaluating their actions from the perspective of the dominant group’s perceptions and interpretations. How immigrants understand the process of “becoming” and “being”¹ a citizen is important because it illuminates issues relevant to a broader constitution of citizenship, both formal and social.

      In this discussion, we focus on how gender influences the social process of naturalization. Gender relations are central to any understanding...

    (pp. 379-382)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 383-393)