Chinatown: The Socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave / Edition 1

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Overview

In Chinatown, Min Zhou examines how an ethnic enclave works to direct its members into American society, while at the same time shielding them from it. Focusing specifically on New York's Chinatown, a community established more than a century ago, Zhou offers a thorough and modern treatment of the immigrant enclave as a socioeconomic system, distinct from, but intrinsically linked with, the larger society. It is difficult for Americans to understand the Chinese experience in Chinatown: while it is located in New York City and many other American cities, this exotic and even forbidding world is really many worlds away. Some view the immigrant enclave as a place where newcomers--naive, ignorant of labor rights, and with language barriers--are mercilessly exploited by fellow Chinese. Zhou's central theme is that Chinatown does not keep immigrant Chinese from assimilating into mainstream society, but instead provides an alternative means of incorporation into society that does not conflict with cultural distinctiveness. In his Foreword, Alejandro Portes observes that this "may exploit some but... gives others their only chance of someday launching their own enterprises." Concentrating on the past two decades, Zhou maintains that community networks and social capital are important resources for reaching socioeconomic goals and social position in the United States; in Chinatown, ethnic employers use family ties and ethnic resources to advance socially. Chinese employees have access to employment opportunities in Chinatown that they would otherwise lack because of language difficulties, mismatched skills, and undervalued educational credentials. Zhou demonstrates that for many immigrants, low-paid menial jobs provided by the enclave are expected as a part of the time-honored path to upward social mobility of the family. Relying on her family's networks in New York's Chinatown and her fluency in both Cantonese and Mandarin, the author, who was born in the People's Repu
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book provides a well-written and fascinating picture of the positive face of Chinatown as an economic enclave that provides an alternative path for immigrants to succeed in American without losing their strong ethnic identity and ocmmunity....The author provides an excellent account of the historical and structural factors that have led to the formation and continuation of Chinatown as an urban enclave since the post-1965 Chinese immigration period."
Social Science Quarterly

"Chinatown is a captivating story of East meeting West in greater New York City."
American Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566393379
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Conflicts In Urban & Regional Series
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Min Zhou is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Memories of Sojourning 18
3 Changes in Recent Chinese Immigration 41
4 Uprooted: The New Arrivals 69
5 The Rise of the Economic Enclave 91
6 The Ethnic Labor Force and Its Labor Market Experience 119
7 The Other Half of the Sky: Socioeconomic Adaptation of Immigrant Women 152
8 Residential Mobility and Ethnic Segregation 185
9 Conclusion: Rising Out of Chinatown 219
Notes 235
References 251
Index 265
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