Kids in the Middle
How Children of Immigrants Negotiate Community Interactions for Their Families
Publication Year: 2014
Through a unique interdisciplinary approach that combines elements of sociology and communication approaches, Katz investigates not only how immigrant children connect their families with local institutional networks, but also how they engage different media forms to bridge gaps between their homes and mainstream American culture. Drawing from extensive firsthand research, Katz takes us inside an urban community in Southern California and the experiences of a specific community of Latino immigrant families there. In addition to documenting the often-overlooked contributions that children of immigrants make to their families’ community encounters, the book provides a critical set of recommendations for how service providers and local institutions might better assist these children in fulfilling their family responsibilities. The story told in Kids in the Middle reveals an essential part of the immigrant experience that transcends both geographic and ethnic boundaries.
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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This book and the project that prompted it have spanned a number of years. As such, I am grateful to a great many people for supporting me through its development and publication....
Chapter 1: Children, Family, and Community
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Luis is eleven years old.1 He is soft spoken, with warm brown eyes partially hidden by long, thick hair he shyly retreats behind from time to time. Luis is the eldest of Ana and Felipe’s three US-born sons; both parents are undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Felipe works in a clothing factory for an hourly wage...
Chapter 2: Settling in Greater Crenshaw
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This chapter provides background on Greater Crenshaw, an urban community located in South Los Angeles, a few miles from downtown.1 The community and the institutions within it had been profoundly shaped by social and demographic shifts that had taken place in the preceding decades.2...
Chapter 3: Child Brokers and Their Families
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The chapters that follow draw on the experiences of twenty families in which children brokered at home and at local schools, healthcare facilities, and social services. This chapter introduces these children and their families, explains why certain children are more likely to shoulder these responsibilities than their siblings, and describes what kinds of gaps they are enlisted to bridge in their parents’ social networks and local connections....
Chapter 4: Community Begins at Home
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The interactions that children broker in local institutions do not begin in doctors’ waiting rooms or school admissions offices; they begin at home. Since children’s brokering is most visible in public spaces, prior research has been largely focused on these locations.1 In this chapter, I argue that children’s public brokering is shaped by domestic forms of these activities, making the family home a...
Chapter 5: Gateways to Family Wellbeing
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The healthcare and social services environments these families encountered in Greater Crenshaw were critical to addressing many of their basic, and often urgent, needs. These institutions were also spaces where families accessed resources and services that could provide them a measure of security and social mobility. I discuss healthcare and social services together because they were ...
Chapter 6: Shortchanging the Immigrant Bargain?
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As community sites, no institutions are more closely tied to parents’ aspirations for their children than the schools. Providing children with broader educational and occupational prospects is often a major motivation for parents’ migration. Their children’s educational attainment is also viewed as a pathway toward repaying their parents’ sacrifices.1 These repayments may be literal, in that they...
Chapter 7: Brokering and Its Consequences
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The preceding chapters document how children’s brokering influenced their families’ interactions across community locations, as well as the individual and collective activities that enabled and constrained their efforts. By considering what children do across multiple sites, it was possible to assess what strategies were successful in which settings and how interactions with service providers...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 5 tables
Publication Year: 2014