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Immigration Research for a New Century

Immigration Research for a New Century: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Nancy Foner
Rubén G. Rumbaut
Steven J. Gold
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 508
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610448291
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  • Book Info
    Immigration Research for a New Century
    Book Description:

    The rapid rise in immigration over the past few decades has transformed the American social landscape, while the need to understand its impact on society has led to a burgeoning research literature. Predominantly non-European and of varied cultural, social, and economic backgrounds, the new immigrants present analytic challenges that cannot be wholly met by traditional immigration studies.Immigration Research for a New Centurydemonstrates how sociology, anthropology, history, political science, economics, and other disciplines intersect to answer questions about today's immigrants.

    In Part I, leading scholars examine the emergence of an interdisciplinary body of work that incorporates such topics as the social construction of race, the importance of ethnic self-help and economic niches, the influence of migrant-homeland ties, and the types of solidarity and conflict found among migrant populations. The authors also explore the social and national origins of immigration scholars themselves, many of whom came of age in an era of civil rights and ethnic reaffirmation, and may also be immigrants or children of immigrants. Together these essays demonstrate how social change, new patterns of immigration, and the scholars' personal backgrounds have altered the scope and emphases of the research literature, allowing scholars to ask new questions and to see old problems in new ways.

    Part II contains the work of a new generation of immigrant scholars, reflecting the scope of a field bolstered by different disciplinary styles. These essays explore the complex variety of the immigrant experience, ranging from itinerant farmworkers to Silicon Valley engineers. The demands of the American labor force, ethnic, racial, and gender stereotyping, and state regulation are all shown to play important roles in the economic adaptation of immigrants.The ways in which immigrants participate politically, their relationships among themselves, their attitudes toward naturalization and citizenship, and their own sense of cultural identity are also addressed.

    Immigration Research for a New Centuryexamines the complex effects that immigration has had not only on American society but on scholarship itself, and offers the fresh insights of a new generation of immigration researchers.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-829-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Nancy Foner, Rubén G. Rumbaut and Steven J. Gold
  5. Introduction IMMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES
    (pp. 1-20)
    Nancy Foner, Rubén G. Rumbaut and Steven J. Gold

    Four decades into a new era of mass immigration, it has become commonplace to observe that the United States is undergoing its most profound demographic transformation in a century. Much less evident is the extent to which the social scientific study of immigration is itself being transformed in the process. This volume seeks to provide a glimpse of these dual transformations—indeed, it is itself a multidisciplinary product of the changes now under way. It reflects the work both of established scholars who have directed the Committee on International Migration of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) since its formation...

  6. PART I STUDYING IMMIGRATION:: DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES AND FUTURE RESEARCH NEEDS

    • 1 IMMIGRATION RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES: SOCIAL ORIGINS AND FUTURE ORIENTATIONS
      (pp. 23-43)
      Rubén G. Rumbaut

      This collection of multidisciplinary essays is concerned not only with the fact that this giant sponge of a society is once again being transformed in the process of absorbing a mass immigration, but the field of immigration studies is itself in flux. Indeed, as must be increasingly plain to those actively involved in it, especially in disciplines like sociology, many immigration scholars in the United States today are immigrants, or the children or grandchildren of immigrants. In the absence of hard data to document the phenomenon, that perception, when it has been noticed at all, has rested entirely on serendipitous...

    • Chapter 2 THE VIEW FROM THE DISCIPLINES AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL

      • 2A THE SOCIOLOGICAL ROOTS AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY FUTURE OF IMMIGRATION RESEARCH
        (pp. 44-48)
        Mary C. Waters

        As a sociologist I have always felt very much at home studying immigration. This is probably true for most sociologists, because immigration is at the very core of American sociology. The last great wave of immigration at the turn of the past century filled American cities with immigrants and their children. The social problems encountered by these immigrants, along with the problems arising out of urbanization and industrialization, gave rise to the body of sociological studies that came to be known as the Chicago School of sociology. Associated most often with one of its founders, Robert Park, the Chicago School...

      • 2B ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE STUDY OF IMMIGRATION
        (pp. 49-53)
        Nancy Foner

        Anthrpologists’ interest in immigration to the United States is one of the changes taking place in the field as our nonindustrial societies around the world are being transformed in the face of dramatic globalizing forces. Villagers in the South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga, to give one example, regularly watch American television programs and videos—and more than one-quarter of the entire population of Tonga now lives in the United States (Small 1998, 52). Indeed, anthropological research on immigration is, to a large extent, about what happens when the people studied on their home turf turn up living next door....

      • 2C RACE AND IMMIGRATION HISTORY
        (pp. 54-59)
        George J. Sánchez

        In 1998, the Immigration History Society, the historical field’s main organization for the study of immigration, officially changed its name to the Immigration and Ethnic History Society to better reflect the scope of interests among its members and to reverse the declining membership in its ranks. Thejournal of American Ethnic Historyhas been the official journal of the Immigration History Society since the late 1960s, but the relation between immigration and ethnicity has long served as a point of contention among historians (see Gabaccia 1999). Leading figures such as historian Oscar Handlin (1973) and sociologist Nathan Glazer (1971) describe...

      • 2D THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION POLICY: AN EXTERNALIST PERSPECTIVE
        (pp. 60-68)
        Aristide R. Zolberg

        International migration is an inherently political phenomenon, in that it entails not merely physical relocation but a change of jurisdiction from one state to another and eventually also a change of membership from one political community to another. Both aspects of the process, emigration and immigration, therefore, often elicit public concern and provoke political contention within and between countries. Yet until recently, the subject evoked little or no interest among political scientists, even within the subfield of American politics, notwithstanding the importance of immigration in the development of the society with which it is concerned.

        The situation changed significantly from...

      • 2E IMMIGRATION STUDIES AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL
        (pp. 69-75)
        Josh DeWind

        The social Science Research Council has twice mobilized scholars to promote the study of immigration to the United States. Although they were conceived seventy years apart, the Committee on Scientific Aspects of Human Migration (1924 to 1927) and the Committee on International Migration (1994 to the present) were formed within similar demographic and political contexts. At the time each committee was created, large numbers of immigrants had been entering the nation for two or more decades, and, in the midst of extensive public debates, the Congress had passed comprehensive legislation to manage their entry and impact on American life. In...

    • 3 FILLING IN SOME HOLES: SIX AREAS OF NEEDED IMMIGRATION RESEARCH
      (pp. 76-90)
      Herbert J. Gans

      For a social scientist, the only possible way to write about the future of immigration is to eschew predictions of what might be and instead propose what should be; but that is also the most personally satisfying assignment. Here, however, I fill it modestly, limiting myself to the presentation and discussion of six research “holes”—to borrow Rubén Rumbaut’s metaphor—that deserve filling. As a sociologist, I see mainly sociological holes, and to keep the list from expanding into double digits, I stay within a favorite topic of sociological immigration research, the adaptation of immigrants and their descendants.

      I use...

  7. PART II STUDIES OF IMMIGRATION:: RESEARCH FROM A NEW GENERATION OF SCHOLARS

    • POLITICAL ECONOMY, MEMBERSHIP, AND THE STATE

      • 4 WHICH FACE? WHOSE NATION? IMMIGRATION, PUBLIC HEALTH, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF DISEASE AT AMERICA’S PORTS AND BORDERS, 1891 TO 1928
        (pp. 93-112)
        Howard Markel and Alexandra Minna Stern

        Since the early days of the republic, anti-immigrant sentiment has played a part in the forging, expansion, and consolidation of America. Drawing from an extensive array of metaphors and explanations, nativist rhetoric has, at different times, been based on claims of religious incompatibility, cultural backwardness, and economic dependency. All these objections share a general belief that certain immigrants are inassimilable and potentially destructive to American society. One of the most insidious and powerful rationales for restricting immigration has been the need to safeguard the national public health against contagious or infectious diseases, deleterious genetic traits, and even chronic conditions or...

      • 5 “THE EXPORTED TO CARE”: A TRANSNATIONAL HISTORY OF FILIPINO NURSE MIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES
        (pp. 113-133)
        Catherine Ceniza Choy

        The international migration of Filipino nurses is often characterized as a post–1965 phenomenon. Between 1966 and 1985, an estimated twenty-five thousand Filipino nurses migrated to the United States (Ong and Azores 1994, 164); by the late 1960s, the Philippines had replaced Canada as the major country of origin of foreigntrained nurses in the United States; and in 1979, a World Health Organization report observed that among nurse-sending countries, the largest outflow of nurses by far was from the Philippines (Mejia, Pizorki, and Royston 1979, 43–45). The Philippines had became the world’s largest exporter of nurses, with significant numbers...

      • 6 TRANSNATIONAL POLITICAL STRATEGIES: THE CASE OF MEXICAN INDIGENOUS MIGRANTS
        (pp. 134-156)
        Gaspar Rivera-Salgado

        On february 10, 1997, the local media in Fresno, California, reported on a rally in front of the Mexican Consulate offices in that city, organized by a group of migrant farmworkers. What caught the attention of the media was that the group, composed of indigenous Mixtec farmworkers, had simultaneously organized a press conference in the northern Mexican border city of Tijuana and a caravan traveling from the Mixtec town of Juxtlahuaca to the city of Oaxaca.¹ Along the way the protesters had managed the symbolic takeover of the ancient city of Monte Alban. The main demand of this binational political...

      • 7 NATURALIZATION UNDER CHANGING CONDITIONS OF MEMBERSHIP: DOMINICAN IMMIGRANTS IN NEW YORK CITY
        (pp. 157-186)
        Greta Gilbertson and Audrey Singer

        Research on naturalization and citizenship reflects increasing interest in the acquisition of citizenship as a process influenced by a multiplicity of forces. Scholars have begun to recognize the importance of destination conditions—including community structure, labor market, and federal policies—and their influence on citizenship acquisition (Yang 1994; Bloemraad 1999; Jones-Correa 1998). However, researchers have not adequately explored the ways in which contextual factors influence immigrants’ propensity to naturalize by shaping their perceptions of citizenship. A critical feature of the current political and social context in the United States is the anti-immigrant legislation that was passed in 1996.¹

        Most sociological...

      • 8 PARTICIPATION IN LIBERAL DEMOCRACY: THE POLITICAL ASSIMILATION OF IMMIGRANTS AND ETHNIC MINORITIES IN THE UNITED STATES
        (pp. 187-214)
        Jane Junn

        Within the next decade, nearly one-third of the United States population will be classified as a race other than white. That proportion is projected to rise to 47 percent by 2050. At present, immigrants and their second-generation offspring constitute almost one-fifth of the U.S. population, and of these, more than three-quarters are from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. How do changes in the ethnic composition of the U.S. population influence citizen participation in liberal democracy? Recent ballot proposals in California-where in the next decade, no one ethnic or racial group will constitute a majority of the population-showcase...

      • 9 THE RISE OF NONSTATE ACTORS IN MIGRATION REGULATION IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE: CHANGING THE GATEKEEPERS OR BRINGING BACK THE STATE?
        (pp. 215-241)
        Gallya Lahav

        In an era of growing anti-immigrant sentiment and heightened state efforts to curtail immigration to the developed world, Western democracies are increasingly caught between their liberal ethos and their ability to effectively control immigration. Questions are being raised concerning the form of control industrialized democracies can use to effectively manage global migration flows. How can liberal democracies reconcile efforts to control the movement of people with those that promote free borders, open markets, and liberal standards? Are national actors, as some political analysts predict, “losing control” over migration? (Sassen 1996; Cornelius, Martin, and Hollifield 1994)

        This chapter addresses two main...

    • MIGRATION, ECONOMIC INCORPORATION, AND THE MARKET

      • 10 ONE BORDER, TWO CROSSINGS: MEXICAN MIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES AS A TWO-WAY PROCESS
        (pp. 242-276)
        Steven S. Zahniser

        A new wave of research has reinvigorated the study of Mexican migration to the United States. Unlike previous, cross-sectional analyses of the migration decision (Taylor 1984; Massey and García España 1987; Sprouse 1991; García España 1992), these new works explicitly treat Mexican migration as a two-way phenomenon in which participants move in either direction across the United States–Mexico border. Most Mexicans in the migration stream eventually return to their native land, either to migrate again or to remain permanently in Mexico.¹ With this in mind, researchers are seeking answers to subtle questions about the transitional nature of Mexican migration,...

      • 11 IMMIGRANT LABOR RECRUITMENT: U.S. AGRIBUSINESS AND UNDOCUMENTED MIGRATION FROM MEXICO
        (pp. 277-300)
        Fred Krissman

        Academic discourse, media attention, and public policy initiatives in the United States have been riveted on “supply-side” factors in the debate over undocumented migration from Mexico. The general consensus is that endemic poverty in Mexico is the problem and the apprehension and deportation of “illegal aliens” in the United States is the solution. However, poverty in the migrants’ homeland is not an adequate explanation for large-scale undocumented immigration;¹ nor have such flows ever been terminated through policing without the wholesale violation of basic human rights (Dunn 1996; Hoffman 1974). Rather, the international migrant networks that provide the social infrastructure to...

      • 12 SKILLED IMMIGRANTS AND CEREBREROS: FOREIGN-BORN ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS IN THE HIGH-TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY OF SILICON VALLEY
        (pp. 301-321)
        Rafael Alarcón

        Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, located in the core of Silicon Valley, has been the prime research unit of Hewlett-Packard for three decades. Researchers at HP Labs have developed such innovative products as inkjet printers, cardiac ultrasound imaging, scientific calculators, and telecommunications software. HP Labs has stretched its global reach from its research and development headquarters in Silicon Valley to include locations in Bristol, England; Tokyo, Japan; and Haifa, Israel. However, globalization has also a local expression at the Palo Alto site. Most names posted on the doors of the researchers’ cubicles would seem “foreign” to some people visiting the facility.

        The arrival...

      • 13 IMMIGRANT AND AFRICAN AMERICAN COMPETITION: JEWISH, KOREAN, AND AFRICAN AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURS
        (pp. 322-344)
        Jennifer Lee

        One of the chief sources of tension between immigrants and African Americans in the United States is the notion that immigrant entrepreneurs who open businesses in predominantly black neighborhoods take business opportunities away from native-born blacks. Given their prevalence—particularly in black communities—one might assume that immigrant businesses owned by Koreans, Jews, Chinese, and Asian Indians compete with African American entrepreneurs, thereby inhibiting the development of African American small business. Do immigrant entrepreneurs compete with African Americans in the retail industry? The question of who owns the stores in the community is laden with symbolism, translating into far beyond...

      • 14 OUTSOURCING THE HEARTH: THE IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION ON LABOR ALLOCATION IN AMERICAN FAMILIES
        (pp. 345-368)
        Kathy A. Kaufman

        Immigrants employed as domestic workers have literally reorganized social life in many American communities. One has only to walk the streets of New York City to see this phenomenon at work. Parks are crowded with Caribbean women tending to fair, blue-eyed charges; each morning finds immigrant women heading into the elevators of residential buildings equipped with vacuum cleaners and dust mops; just a few miles away, suburban lawns are abuzz with mowers and hedge trimmers wielded by men from Mexico, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Maintaining servants is no longer the exclusive domain of the well-heeled: Immigrant domestic workers increasingly take...

    • ETHNICITY, RACE, GENDER, AND COMMUNITY

      • 15 EN EL NORTE LA MUJER MANDA: GENDER, GENERATION, AND GEOGRAPHY IN A MEXICAN TRANSNATIONAL COMMUNITY
        (pp. 369-389)
        Jennifer S. Hirsch

        Women and men in rural western Mexico and their relatives in Atlanta discuss differences between life in the United States and Mexico in terms of gender: “En el norte,” they say, “la mujer manda”—in the North, that is, women give the orders. Young Mexican women on both sides of the border, however, call our attention to the role of history rather than migration in the transformation of gender: they say they are not as easily pushed around as their mothers. Although older women in this community have hardly been powerless, in the space of a generation men and women...

      • 16 DIALING 911 IN NUER: GENDER TRANSFORMATIONS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN A MIDWESTERN SUDANESE REFUGEE COMMUNITY
        (pp. 390-408)
        Jon D. Holtzman

        A young wife went into the forest to collect firewood with the other village women, or so the story goes. Chatting as they went, their conversation quickly turned to the beatings their husbands had given them, with each describing in turn the violent treatment they had received. Everyone had a story to tell of this beating or that, this fight or that; yet when it came to the young wife’s turn all were aghast: Married for more than a year, she revealed that she had never been beaten! The women wondered out loud what her life must be like, and...

      • 17 LANGUAGE, RACE, AND THE NEW IMMIGRANTS: THE EXAMPLE OF SOUTHERN ITALIANS
        (pp. 409-422)
        Nancy C. Carnevale

        The ongoing debate on whether to make English the official language of the United States is only one reminder that language remains a social, political, and cultural issue of direct significance to this nation of immigrants. To date, immigration scholars, including historians, have taken a limited approach to language, focusing largely on English language acquisition as an index of assimilation.¹ A historical approach to language within an interdisciplinary framework, however, allows for a broader range of possibilities for the study of language and immigration. This chapter examines the role of language in the social construction of race at the turn...

      • 18 A NEW WHITE FLIGHT? THE DYNAMICS OF NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGE IN THE 1980s
        (pp. 423-441)
        Ingrid Gould Ellen

        Both academic and popular writings today display a growing concern that Latinos and Asians are becoming more and more residentially segregated from non-Hispanic whites (Bean and Tienda 1987; Frey 1995; President’s Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties 1980). In addition, some warn of a “new white flight” from communities populated by immigrants, particularly those of Asian and Latino descent, that is driving residential separation (Filer 1992; Frey 1994, 1995; Holmes 1997; Rich 1995). Such trends also raise concerns about the changing prospects for immigrant assimilation more generally in the United States.

        On the one hand, these observers are...

      • 19 TRANSNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND ITS ETHNIC CONSEQUENCES: THE RETURN MIGRATION AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF ETHNICITY OF JAPANESE PERUVIANS
        (pp. 442-458)
        Ayumi Takenaka

        The construction of a transnational community has significant consequences for immigrants, their communities, and their assimilation processes in the host countries. This chapter examines this largely neglected aspect of the studies of transnational communities. Past studies (for example, Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc 1994; Smith 1995) have primarily focused on the processes in which migrants create and maintain “simultaneous multi-stranded social relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement” (Glick Schiller, Basch, and Szanton Blanc 1995). Perhaps overemphasizing the centrality of transnational ties, however, these studies have largely neglected to examine their nature as well as their...

      • 20 MIGRANTS PARTICIPATE ACROSS BORDERS: TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF FORMS AND CONSEQUENCES
        (pp. 459-480)
        Peggy Levitt

        Many Americans expect migrants to loosen their ties to their countries of origin as they assimilate into life in the United States. They assume that residence eventually equals membership because migrants will gradually shift their allegiance from the countries they leave behind to those that receive them. Increasing numbers of migrants, however, continue to participate in their homelands, even as they are incorporated into host countries. Rather than cutting off their social and economic attachments and trading one political membership for another, some individuals keep feet in both worlds. Citizenship is not the primary basis upon which individuals form their...

  8. Index
    (pp. 481-491)