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Reviewed by:
  • Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America
  • Brad D. Jokisch
Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America, Daniel D. Arreola (ed.) Austin, University of Texas Press, 2004. ix and 334 pp., references, photos, maps, and index. $24.95 paper (ISBN: 0-292-70562-X).

Decrying the lack of attention paid to geographical perspectives of Hispanic/Latino Americans, Daniel Arreola leads fifteen geographers and two sociologists on an exploration of the "regional cultural geography of Americans of Hispanic/Latino ancestry." Thirteen chapters examine the regional diversity and cultural identity of Hispanic/Latino Americans using the broader themes of "space" (population distribution, movement, patterns) and "place" (landscape). After an introductory chapter by the editor describing immigration from Latin America and sketching a broad geography of Latino settlement in the USA, the chapters are divided into three community types—continuous communities (always predominantly Hispanic), discontinuous communities (Hispanic/Latino community now dominated by non-Hispanic), and new communities (recent Hispanic/Latino population). Hispanic and Latino are equated and the definition is limited to people living in the U.S. who were either born in, or have heritage from a Spanish-speaking country in Latin America. Brazilians and anyone else from non-Hispanic Latin America are excluded. The book is weighted toward new communities (eight chapters) and somewhat weighted toward place. With notable exceptions, many of the chapters are historic, descriptive, and focus on landscapes that purportedly represent the culture of Latino subgroups.

Both continuous communities chapters—Plaza in Las Vegas, and Laredo, Texas—explore "unique" Hispanic places. All three discontinuous-communities chapters examine urban communities (largely Mexican) in California. In chapter four the importance of Latino activism and sense of territoriality in the Mission District in San Francisco is revealed, and in chapter five an argument is made that globalization is the new paradigm necessary to understand cultural landscapes of San Diego, California. This section concludes with a chapter on how industrial change created a Latino-dominated Southeast Los Angeles, influenced by the landscapes of the previous occupants.

The section on new communities contains three chapters heavily focused on Latino landscapes—a characterization of three "streetscape" types in New York (are immigrants really invaders?), an examination of semi-fixed landscape features of Puerto Rican neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio, and business-scapes in Reno, Nevada. This section also has three chapters focused on space and the geography of Latino settlement—soccer and Bolivian cultural space in metro Washington D.C., a history of Latinos in the urban Midwest (Kansas City), and a chapter on the relationship between Hispanics in the South and the restructuring of the poultry industry. Two chapters have a focus on both landscape and space: Latino landscapes in Phoenix and the Hispanicization of Hereford, Texas.

Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Latinos in the US. It is a much-needed volume that helps us understand complex issues of Latino diversity and how that diversity shapes space and is represented in the landscape. Most chapters are well-written and all have appropriate maps, illustrations, [End Page 143] and photos. The book does an admirable job of sampling distinctive contexts, and with twelve case studies it may not be fair to ask for more coverage; however, two regional gaps appear: Florida and the rural Midwest/Northwest. As in any edited volume, some chapters stand out, in no small part because they more effectively engage larger conceptual/theoretical issues and engage contemporary debates. Kandel and Parrado's chapter shows how the concentration and consolidation of the poultry industry along with its relocation to the South created ideal conditions for Latin American immigration. Latinos did not "take American jobs"; they were recruited into low-paying, dangerous, jobs most Southerners do not want. Price and Whitworth's is the only chapter that shows how "home" influences Latino cultural space in the United States. Place is less important than creating cultural spaces through soccer and the festivities that focus on "remembering home" while here. Herzog's chapter on globalization is most effective and creative when he shows exactly how forces that have become global shape San Diego barrios, though the chapter is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-5811
Print ISSN
1545-2476
Pages
pp. 143-144
Launched on MUSE
2006-11-09
Open Access
No
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