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Coming Home

Media and Returning Diaspora in Israel and Germany

Examines the social and cultural integration of Russian-speaking Jews and Germans who immigrated to their respective historic homelands. Coming Home provides an extraordinary glimpse into the social and cultural integration of a unique category of immigrants—the returning Diaspora. During the 1990s Russian-speaking Jews and Germans returned to their respective historic homelands. Nelly Elias explores the social and cultural adaptation of these two groups by focusing on the roles played by their native language—Russian—and the language used by the media of each country. Based on one hundred in-depth interviews conducted with immigrants now living in both Israel and Germany, Coming Home considers media use to be an inseparable part of an immigrant’s adaptation strategy, simultaneously reflecting construction of a new social and cultural identity while also preserving their original cultural identities.

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Coming of Political Age

American Schools and the Civic Development of Immigrant Youth

As one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population, the children of immigrants are poised to reshape the country’s political future. The massive rallies for immigration rights in 2006 and the recent push for the DREAM Act, both heavily supported by immigrant youth, signal the growing political potential of this crucial group. While many studies have explored the political participation of immigrant adults, we know comparatively little about what influences civic participation among the children of immigrants. Coming of Political Age persuasively argues that schools play a central role in integrating immigrant youth into the political system. The volume shows that the choices we make now in our educational system will have major consequences for the country’s civic health as the children of immigrants grow and mature as citizens. Coming of Political Age draws from an impressive range of data, including two large surveys of adolescents in high schools and interviews with teachers and students, to provide an insightful analysis of trends in youth participation in politics. Although the children of both immigrant and native-born parents register and vote at similar rates, the factors associated with this likelihood are very different. While parental educational levels largely explain voting behavior among children of native-born parents, this volume demonstrates that immigrant children’s own education, in particular their exposure to social studies, strongly predicts their future political participation. Learning more about civic society and putting effort into these classes may encourage an interest in politics, suggesting that the high school civics curriculum remains highly relevant in an increasingly disconnected society. Interestingly, although their schooling predicts whether children of immigrants will vote, how they identify politically depends more on family and community influences. As budget cuts force school administrators to realign academic priorities, this volume argues that any cutback to social science programs may effectively curtail the political and civic engagement of the next generation of voters. While much of the literature on immigrant assimilation focuses on family and community, Coming of Political Age argues that schools—and social science courses in particular—may be central to preparing the leaders of tomorrow. The insights and conclusions presented in this volume are essential to understand how we can encourage more participation in civic action and improve the functioning of our political system.

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A Common Humanity

Ritual, Religion, and Immigrant Advocacy in Tucson, Arizona

Lane Van Ham

As debate about immigration policy rages from small towns to state capitals, from coffee shops to Congress, would-be immigrants are dying in the desert along the US–Mexico border. Beginning in the 1990s, the US government effectively sealed off the most common border crossing routes. This had the unintended effect of forcing desperate people to seek new paths across open desert. At least 4,000 of them died between 1995 and 2009. While some Americans thought the dead had gotten what they deserved, other Americans organized humani-tarian aid groups. A Common Humanity examines some of the most active aid organizations in Tucson, Arizona, which has become a hotbed of advocacy on behalf of undocumented immigrants.

This is the first book to examine immigrant aid groups from the inside. Author Lane Van Ham spent more than three years observing the groups and many hours in discussions and interviews. He is particularly interested in how immigrant advocates both uphold the legitimacy of the United States and maintain a broader view of its social responsibilities. By advocating for immigrants regardless of their documentation status, he suggests, advocates navigate the conflicting pulls of their own na-tion-state citizenship and broader obligations to their neighbors in a globalizing world. And although the advocacy organizations are not overtly religious, Van Ham finds that they do employ religious symbolism as part of their public rhetoric, arguing that immigrants are entitled to humane treatment based on universal human values.

Beautifully written and immensely engaging, A Common Humanity adds a valuable human dimension to the immigration debate.

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Competition or Co-operation? South African and Migrant Entrepreneurs in Johannesburg

Sally Peberdy

Debates about international migration in South Africa often centre on the role of international migrant entrepreneurs who are seen to be more successful than their South African counterparts, squeezing them out of entrepreneurial spaces, particularly in townships. This report explores and compares the experiences of international and South African migrant entrepreneurs operating informal sector businesses in Johannesburg.

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Conflicting Commitments

The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston

by Shannon Gleeson

In Conflicting Commitments, Shannon Gleeson goes beyond the debate over federal immigration policy to examine the complicated terrain of immigrant worker rights. Federal law requires that basic labor standards apply to all workers, yet this principle clashes with increasingly restrictive immigration laws and creates a confusing bureaucratic terrain for local policymakers and labor advocates. Gleeson examines this issue in two of the largest immigrant gateways in the country: San Jose, California, and Houston, Texas.

Conflicting Commitments reveals two cities with very different approaches to addressing the exploitation of immigrant workers-both involving the strategic coordination of a range of bureaucratic brokers, but in strikingly different ways. Drawing on the real life accounts of ordinary workers, federal, state, and local government officials, community organizers, and consular staff, Gleeson argues that local political contexts matter for protecting undocumented workers in particular. Providing a rich description of the bureaucratic minefields of labor law, and the explosive politics of immigrant rights, Gleeson shows how the lessons learned from San Jose and Houston can inform models for upholding labor and human rights in the United States.

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Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines

by Linda A. Newson

Scholars have long assumed that Spanish colonial rule had only a limited demographic impact on the Philippines. Filipinos, they believed, had acquired immunity to Old World diseases prior to Spanish arrival; conquest was thought to have been more benign than what took place in the Americas because of more enlightened colonial policies introduced by Philip II. Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines illuminates the demographic history of the Spanish Philippines in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and, in the process, challenges these assumptions.

In this provocative new work, Linda Newson convincingly demonstrates that the Filipino population suffered a significant decline in the early colonial period. Newson argues that the sparse population of the islands meant that Old World diseases could not become endemic in pre-Spanish times. She also shows that the initial conquest of the Philippines was far bloodier than has often been supposed and that subsequent Spanish demands for tribute, labor, and land brought socioeconomic transformations and depopulation that were prolonged beyond the early conquest years. Comparisons are made with the impact of Spanish colonial rule in the Americas.

Newson adopts a regional approach and examines critically each major area in Luzon and the Visayas in turn. Building on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, she proposes a new estimate for the population of the Visayas and Luzon of 1.57 million in 1565—slightly higher than that suggested by previous studies—and calculates that by the mid-seventeenth century this figure may have fallen by about two-thirds.

Based on extensive archival research conducted in secular and missionary archives in the Philippines, Spain, and elsewhere, Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines is an exemplary contribution to our understanding of the formative influences on demographic change in premodern Southeast Asian society and the history of the early Spanish Philippines.

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A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform

Perspectives from a Former US Attorney General

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Contemporary Marriage

This fascinating symposium is based on an assumption that no longer seems to need justification: that the institution of marriage is today experiencing profound changes. But the nature of those changes—their causes and consequences—is very much in need of explication. The experts contributing to this volume bring a wide range of perspectives—sociological, anthropological, economic, historical, psychological, and legal—to the problem of marriage in modern society. Together these essays help illuminate a form of relationship that is both vulnerable and resilient, biological and social, a reflection of and an influence on other social institutions.

Contemporary Marriage begins with an important assessment of the revolution in marital behavior since World War II, tracing trends in marriage age, cohabitation, divorce, and fertility. The focus here is primarily on the United States and on idustrial societies in general. Later chapters provide intriguing case studies of particular countries. There is a recurrent interest in the impact on marriage of modernization itself, but a number of essays probe influences other than industrial development, such as strong cultural and historical patterns or legislation and state control. Beliefs and expectations about marriage are explored, and human sexuality and gender roles are also considered as factors in the nature of marriage.

Contemporary Marriage offers a rich spectrum of approaches to a problem of central importance. The volume will reward an equally broad spectrum of readers interested in the meaning and future of marriage in our society.

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Contested Citizenship

Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe

Ruud Koopmans

From international press coverage of the French government’s attempt to prevent Muslims from wearing headscarves to terrorist attacks in Madrid and the United States, questions of cultural identity and pluralism are at the center of the world’s most urgent events and debates. Presenting an unprecedented wealth of empirical research garnered during ten years of a cross-cultural project, Contested Citizenship addresses these fundamental issues by comparing collective actions by migrants, xenophobes, and antiracists in Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. 

Revealing striking cross-national differences in how immigration and diversity are contended by different national governments, these authors find that how citizenship is constructed is the key variable defining the experience of Europe’s immigrant populations. Contested Citizenship provides nuanced policy recommendations and challenges the truism that multiculturalism is always good for immigrants. Even in an age of European integration and globalization, the state remains a critical actor in determining what points of view are sensible and realistic—and legitimate—in society. 

Ruud Koopmans is professor of sociology at Free University, Amsterdam. Paul Statham is reader in political communications at the University of Leeds. Marco Giugni is a researcher and teacher of political science at the University of Geneva. Florence Passy is assistant professor of political science at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

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Contours of White Ethnicity

Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America

Yiorgos Anagnostou

In Contours of White Ethnicity, Yiorgos Anagnostou explores the construction of ethnic history and reveals how and why white ethnics selectively retain, rework, or reject their pasts. Challenging the tendency to portray Americans of European background as a uniform cultural category, the author demonstrates how a generalized view of American white ethnics misses the specific identity issues of particular groups as well as their internal differences.

Interdisciplinary in scope, Contours of White Ethnicity uses the example of Greek America to illustrate how the immigrant past can be used to combat racism and be used to bring about solidarity between white ethnics and racial minorities. Illuminating the importance of the past in the construction of ethnic identities today, Anagnostou presents the politics of evoking the past to create community, affirm identity, and nourish reconnection with ancestral roots, then identifies the struggles to neutralize oppres sive pasts.

Although it draws from the scholarship on a specific ethnic group, Contours of White Ethnicity exhibits a sophisticated, interdisciplinary methodology, which makes it of particular interest to scholars researching ethnicity and race in the United States and for those charting the directions of future research for white ethnicities.

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