Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation

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University of California Press, May 31, 2001 - Social Science - 430 pages
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One out of five Americans, more than 55 million people, are first-or second-generation immigrants. This landmark study, the most comprehensive to date, probes all aspects of the new immigrant second generation's lives, exploring their immense potential to transform American society for better or worse. Whether this new generation reinvigorates the nation or deepens its social problems depends on the social and economic trajectories of this still young population. In Legacies, Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut—two of the leading figures in the field—provide a close look at this rising second generation, including their patterns of acculturation, family and school life, language, identity, experiences of discrimination, self-esteem, ambition, and achievement.

Based on the largest research study of its kind, Legacies combines vivid vignettes with a wealth of survey and school data. Accessible, engaging, and indispensable for any consideration of the changing face of American society, this book presents a wide range of real-life stories of immigrant families—from Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, the Philippines, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam—now living in Miami and San Diego, two of the areas most heavily affected by the new immigration. The authors explore the world of second-generation youth, looking at patterns of parent-child conflict and cohesion within immigrant families, the role of peer groups and school subcultures, the factors that affect the children's academic achievement, and much more.

A companion volume to Legacies, entitled Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America, was published by California in Fall 2001. Edited by the authors of Legacies, this book will bring together some of the country's leading scholars of immigration and ethnicity to provide a close look at this rising second generation.

A Copublication with the Russell Sage Foundation
 

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User Review  - SadieSForsythe - LibraryThing

Legacies tackles a notoriously slippery and difficult subject, and it does so admirably. As a social researcher looking at social identity, Legacies was repeatedly recommend to me (always with high ... Read full review

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Legacies tackles a notoriously slippery and difficult subject, and it does so admirably. As a social researcher looking at social identity, Legacies was repeatedly recommend to me (always with high praise, and often accompanied by an and exclamation mark). I lost track of the number of times I heard, "Oh have you read Legacies yet? You really have to." I am familiar with the work of both Portes and Rumbolt, and they maintained their high standards throughout this text. Legacies is not always easy to read, mind you. It can be dry at times, as any book covering quantitative data tends to be. But the character profiles in the early chapters helps to soften the tendency significantly. While not wholly without criticism, the research methods are sound and the sample size significant. I too would recommend it to readers interested in the changing dynamic of the American population. It challenges some firmly held dogmas, and sadly highlights some of the social ills we all wish would be found to be untrue.  

Contents

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About the author (2001)

Alejandro Portes is Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and Director of the Center for Migration and Development, Woodrow Wilson School for Public Affairs. He is the coauthor of City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami (California, 1993) and Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States (California, 1985). Portes is the 2010 recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association. Rubén G. Rumbaut is Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. He is coauthor, with Alejandro Portes, of Immigrant America: A Portrait (California, 1996), and the coeditor of Immigration Research for a New Century: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2000) and Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in America(1996).

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