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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 6, 2009

Written by C.N.

Academic Research: The Second Generation

For my readers who like (or are brave enough) to keep on top of the latest sociological research on immigration, assimilation, and the adaptation of second generation Asian Americans and Latino Americans, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2009, Volume 35 Issue 7) has just released a special issue that they’ve titled, “Local Contexts and the Prospects for the US Second Generation.”

Unfortunately, if you’re not in academics, you’re unlikely to find this journal in your local public library, only in college libraries. Below are the citations and abstracts for each of the articles contained in the issue:

Local Contexts of Immigrant and Second-Generation Integration in the United States

  • Authors: Mark Ellis and Gunnar Almgren
  • Pages 1059 – 1076
  • Abstract: Our paper introduces this special issue of JEMS on the role of the local context in immigrant and second-generation integration in the United States. Recent literature has argued that national contexts are important for understanding the integration of immigrants and their descendents. The articles in this issue make the case that local contexts, broadly defined at any sub-national scale, are also important for understanding integration within the US; they suggest that it is incorrect to think of a singular and spatially undifferentiated integration process for US immigrants. In addition to previewing the contents of the articles in this issue, our paper includes a review of the meaning of generations and integration and a general discussion of the roles of local contexts in mediating processes of integration. This discussion raises questions about the appropriate spatial scale for the analysis of integration and for comparisons of the integration experience across contexts. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research on local contexts of integration within the US.

The Adaptation of the Immigrant Second Generation in America: A Theoretical Overview and Recent Evidence

  • Authors: Alejandro Portes, Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, and William Haller
  • Pages 1077 – 1104
  • Abstract: This paper summarizes a research programme on the new immigrant second generation initiated in the early 1990s and completed in 2006. The four field waves of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS) are described and the main theoretical models emerging from it are presented and graphically summarized. After considering critical views of this theory, we present the most recent results from this longitudinal research programme in the form of quantitative models predicting downward assimilation in early adulthood and qualitative interviews identifying ways for the disadvantaged children of immigrants to escape it. Quantitative results strongly support the predicted effects of exogenous variables identified by segmented assimilation theory and identify the intervening factors during adolescence that mediate their influence on adult outcomes. Qualitative evidence gathered during the last stage of the study points to three factors that can lead to exceptional educational achievement among disadvantaged youths, and which indicate the positive influence of selective acculturation. Finally, the implications of these findings for theory and policy are discussed.

Emerging Contexts of Second-Generation Labor Markets in the United States

  • Author: Jamie Goodwin-White
  • Pages 1105 – 1128
  • Abstract: In this paper I examine how local labor market contexts matter for the Hispanic adult children of immigrants in the United States. Specifically, I consider how these workers fit into ethnic divisions of labour in five metropolitan areas: the traditional immigrant cities of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and the newer immigrant gateways of Atlanta and Phoenix. I focus on the changing economies of these cities in the 1990s, and how industrial changes affect the jobs and relative wages available to immigrants and their adult children. I also examine the extent to which the adult children of immigrants are occupationally clustered in ‘immigrant jobs’. Intergenerational occupational shifts vary by metropolitan area, but are heavily gendered across all of them. I also discuss the interactions of other scales of context, since state and national-level legislation, local organizing efforts and internal migration all shape the settings within which the children of immigrants come of age.

Immigrants and Neighborhoods of Concentrated Poverty: Assimilation or Stagnation?

  • Author: Paul A. Jargowsky
  • Pages 1129 – 1151
  • Abstract: Immigrants in the United States often live, at least for a time, in neighborhoods that have high concentrations of fellow immigrants. Typically, these neighborhoods also have high poverty levels and are located near concentrations of the native-born poor. Conventional wisdom is that living in extremely poor neighborhoods leads to ‘concentration effects’ that exacerbate the problems of poverty and limit economic opportunity. While immigrants are not immune to the problems of crime, gangs, dilapidated housing and failing schools associated with high-poverty neighborhoods, it has been argued that immigrant neighborhoods provide advantages as well. These include the creation of parallel institutions, vernacular information networks and familiar cultural practices. The analyses presented here provide some support for this notion, by showing immigrants’ progress from higher- to lower-poverty neighborhoods over time. Yet Mexican immigrants do not transition nearly as rapidly, providing support for the segmented assimilation hypothesis

How Neighborhoods Matter for Immigrant Children: The Formation of Educational Resources in Chinatown, Koreatown and Pico Union, Los Angeles

  • Author: Min Zhou
  • Pages 1153 – 1179
  • Abstract: This study examines the specific ways in which local institutions in inner-city neighborhoods affect the formation of educational resources for immigrant children. Local institutions here refer to observable neighborhood-based formal and informal organizations. Based on an ethnographic study of three Los Angeles immigrant neighborhoods—Chinatown, Koreatown and Pico Union (Mexican/Central American neighborhood)—I address two main questions. What types of institution exist at the local level, and how does ethnicity shape them? How do local institutions interact with one another to create tangible and intangible resources conducive to education, and how does ethnicity affect access to these resources? My findings suggest that the social structures of immigrant neighborhoods vary due to group-specific modes of incorporation, immigration histories and the host society’s reception; that community organising at the local level centers around certain common parameters in which co-ethnicity is a crucial component; and that neighborhood-based educational resources are available but the access is unequal and ethnically exclusive.

The Neighbourhood Context for Second-Generation Education and Labour Market Outcomes in New York

  • Authors: John Mollenkopf and Ana Champeny
  • Pages 1181 – 1199
  • Abstract: While using a transnational optic to study first-generation immigrants is now widely accepted, most scholars assume that the same approach is not necessary when studying migrants’ children. They claim that, while immigrants might be involved in the economic, political and religious life of their homelands, their children are unlikely to follow suit. In this paper I argue against summarily dismissing the power of being raised in a transnational social field. When children are brought up in households that are regularly influenced by people, objects, practices and know-how from their ancestral homes, they are socialized into its norms and values and they learn how to negotiate its institutions. They also form part of strong social networks. While not all members of the second generation will access these resources, they have the social skills and competencies to do so, if and when they choose. Capturing these dynamics, and tracking how they change over time, requires long-term ethnographic research in the source and destination countries.

The Political Impact of the New Hispanic Second Generation

  • Authors: John R. Logan, Sookhee Oh, and Jennifer Darrah
  • Pages 1201 – 1223
  • Abstract: The rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, particularly those of the second generation, who have automatic rights of citizenship, could be expected to result in increased influence and representation in politics for this group. We show that the effect of a sheer growth in numbers at the national level is diminished by several factors: low probabilities of naturalization by Hispanic immigrants; non-participation in voting, especially by the US-born generations; and concentration of growth in Congressional Districts that already have Hispanic Representatives. It is a challenge for public policy to reduce the lag between population growth and political representation.

Roots and Routes: Understanding the Lives of the Second Generation Transnationally

  • Author: Peggy Levitt
  • Pages 1225 – 1242
  • Abstract: While using a transnational optic to study first-generation immigrants is now widely accepted, most scholars assume that the same approach is not necessary when studying migrants’ children. They claim that, while immigrants might be involved in the economic, political and religious life of their homelands, their children are unlikely to follow suit. In this paper I argue against summarily dismissing the power of being raised in a transnational social field. When children are brought up in households that are regularly influenced by people, objects, practices and know-how from their ancestral homes, they are socialised into its norms and values and they learn how to negotiate its institutions. They also form part of strong social networks. While not all members of the second generation will access these resources, they have the social skills and competencies to do so, if and when they choose. Capturing these dynamics, and tracking how they change over time, requires long-term ethnographic research in the source and destination countries.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Academic Research: The Second Generation" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2009/07/academic-research-the-second-generation/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=1344

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