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Getting Ahead

Social Mobility, Public Housing, and Immigrant Networks

Silvia Dominguez, 0, 0

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: NYU Press

Front Matter

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p. v

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pp. vii-viii

This book would have never been possible without all my friends and respondents in East and South Boston. I am extremely thankful for the hundreds of hours they allowed me to spend with them and their families. In the interest of confidentiality, I cannot divulge their names, but I thank them all. I am also thankful for the guidance and constructive criticism of my dissertation ...

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pp. 1-10

We woke up on September 11, 1973, an early spring day, to the radio broadcasts describing troop movements all over Chile. My parents had been working for several years against the far Right, an elite influence in Chile, and were at that time working with President Allende. My mother cofounded and directed a party based on liberation theology, and my father, ...

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1. Social Flow

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pp. 11-44

Inherent in this cultural ideology is a strong and highly willed individual agency that is free from the effects of structural barriers. This ideology supports the notion that the poor are to blame for their condition, but researchers have found that structural barriers can inhibit social mobility and that their influence is powerful, depending on the intersectionality of race, class, and gender. Yet, the dream continues to ...

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2. The Neighborhoods

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pp. 45-64

Despite their proximity and geographic similarities, South Boston and East Boston are distinctive neighborhoods that have been largely shaped by different histories of immigration. South Boston is best known as a tightly bonded and defended Irish American neighborhood, whereas East Boston is best known as a receiving neighborhood that has integrated various ...

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3. Social Support and Family Life

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pp. 65-102

As this epigraph demonstrates, Josefa has an outstanding capacity to negotiate social relationships. She is a first-generation Afro-Honduran immigrant mother who lives in public housing in South Boston with her husband, Alberto, and their three children—Katrina, Yolanda, and Albertito. Josefa has very dark skin, is of average height and weight and wears her hair ...

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4. Leverage-Based Social Positioning

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pp. 103-119

I asked Lisa about it, and she said, “He is jealous of you; he thinks that you are spending too much time with me.” I initially interpreted his reaction as being proper for an only child, a nine-year-old boy, with a single mother. But with time, I realized how much Martin’s reaction said about Lisa. Lisa is a woman who gives a lot and gets little in return, who wants to be accepted but seldom is, and whose identity ...

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5. Family and Work Support

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pp. 120-151

This quotation is from Camila, whom I initially met when she was eighteen years old. As I began to write this chapter, she answered an e-mail I sent asking how she was doing. It had been more than a year since we last communicated, and I was pleased by her quick response. Camila is happy and stable, but she is also saving money to buy a condominium and continues ...

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6. When Social Positioning Is Not Enough

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pp. 152-184

In this statement, Marta, a twenty-four-year-old second-generation Puerto Rican mother of two, demonstrates the difficulty of retelling traumatic events. She is not able to say “domestic violence,” and she conveys the helplessness of a child who witnesses violence. Marta, like many others who are traumatized, does not normally talk about her trauma, and in this ...

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7. When Intervention Is Necessary

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pp. 185-207

Marcela, a first-generation Puerto Rican mother of one, provides a window into patriarchal control dynamics that include violence against women becoming normative and serving to diminish the drive and imperil the lives of women, leaving them traumatized. This normalization of gendered violence is prevalent in many societies, and it is ignored ...

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8. Immigrant Networks

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pp. 208-226

This chapter brings together the stories that embody the Social Flow framework, explores the dynamics that restrict the framework, such as gendered roles and homophobia, explains how transnational dynamics facilitate the framework, and discusses the relevance of assimilation theories to social mobility. I also apply the framework to domestic and international migration ...


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pp. 227-234


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pp. 235-258


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pp. 259-268

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814721216
E-ISBN-10: 0814721214
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814720776
Print-ISBN-10: 0814720773

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 710060683
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Getting Ahead

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political refugees -- Chile.
  • Chileans -- United States.
  • Immigrants -- Social networks -- United States.
  • Acculturation -- United States.
  • Social mobility -- United States.
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