Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico: Migration, Return Migration, and the Struggles of Incorporation

Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico: Migration, Return Migration, and the Struggles of Incorporation

by Elizabeth M. Aranda
     
 

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Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico examines the experiences of incorporation among two groups of middle-class Puerto Ricans: one that currently lives in the U.S. mainland and one that has resettled in Puerto Rico. The analysis focuses on their subjective interpretations of incorporation and the conditions under which they decide to move back and forth between the…  See more details below

Overview

Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico examines the experiences of incorporation among two groups of middle-class Puerto Ricans: one that currently lives in the U.S. mainland and one that has resettled in Puerto Rico. The analysis focuses on their subjective interpretations of incorporation and the conditions under which they decide to move back and forth between the mainland and island. Findings reveal that migration to the mainland results in educational, occupational and economic gains in the U.S., which also help return migrants re-enter Island labor markets. U.S. settlement brings its own set of struggles. Puerto Ricans see themselves as members of transnational families, yet the struggles of leading dual lives result in settlement decisions that reflect desires to live locally with roots in one place instead of feeling split between the two. Experiences with U.S. racism complicate these decisions, given Puerto Ricans' struggles with racial identity and exclusion in spite of their economic, occupational, and residential integration into mainland society. This study illustrates the conditions under which various patterns of attachments to place-or emotional anchoring-develop, and how these feelings impact future Puerto Rican settlement.

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Editorial Reviews

Centro: Journal Of The Center For Puerto Rican Studies
...insightful monograph...
— 2008
Jorge Duany
Elizabeth Aranda provides an original, sensitive, and insightful analysis of the subjective experience of transnational migration. Based on in-depth interviews with middle-class Puerto Ricans in the United States and Puerto Rico, her work documents how emotions shape the daily lives of people who move abroad, resettle, incorporate, and often move again. I am extremely impressed by Aranda’s wealth of data, rich interpretations, innovative theoretical framework, tight arguments, and broad sociological imagination.
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo
Migrants' feelings are the heart and soul of the migration process, but most contemporary studies of international migration have neglected this very elemental, human aspect. Elizabeth Aranda's book provides an important remedy, showing us how migrants' emotions about loss and belonging, home,and family members plays an important role in the migration process. This book provides many insights for anyone seeking to understand the role of emotions in migration.
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
In this important book Elizabeth Aranda shows that Puerto Ricans, despite being US citizens, experience a second class status in the USA. To make her point, rather than relying exclusively on traditional socioeconomic indicators of "sucess" or "failure," Aranda examines their degree of "emotional enbeddedness," that is, she examines how Puerto Ricans feel in the USA, how do they perceive they are treated by Americans. Her focus on subjectivity and emotions alone is a welcome addition to the literature of migration and assimilation and should lead others to follow in her footsteps. This is a must read book for anyone interested in migration, immigration, assimilation, and race and ethnicity studies.
Edna Acosta-Belén
Often referred to as a "commuter nation," Puerto Ricans are one of the earliest examples of the transnational lives that most migrants are leading today, as they repeatedly displace themselves between their homeland and the United States. By weaving together the stories and subjective experiences of middle-class Puerto Rican migrants, Aranda focuses on a neglected dimension of Puerto Rican migration research making an important contribution to the literature. She provides an invaluable analysis of selective forms of migrant adaptation and incorporation to US society, challenges traditional and now inadequate assimilation paradigms, and offers insightful interpretations that are more in tune with the globalization processes and realities that are shaping contemporary migration.

The author ably captures the changing and paradoxical realities of Puerto Rican migration-from the continuous growth and geographic dispersion, to the more socioeconomically diversified population of today. The result is a compelling portrait of a people intent on preserving their sense of Puerto Ricanness while also functioning as productive and engaged citizens within US society; wrestling with their emotional attachments to the island and the socioeconomic prosperity they hope to find in the United States; and capable of navigating and straddling different cultural and social spaces.

Centro: Journal Of The Center For Puerto Rican Studies
...insightful monograph...
Joe R. Feagin
In a fresh and probing analysis, Aranda presses beyond male-centric immigration approaches to accent critical dimensions of family, gender, and emotion. Forty vital interviews with middle-class Puerto Ricans underscore the centrality of cross-border human communities in contemporary immigration, as well as of family concerns in migration decisions. Family considerations constantly vie with economic goals for many contemporary immigrants.
Centro: The Center for Puerto Rican Studies
...insightful monograph...

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742578111
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
09/27/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
210
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Elizabeth M. Aranda is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Miami. She has published articles in Gender&Society and the American Behavioral Scientist. Her current research is on immigrants to South Florida, their patterns of incorporation, and the nature of race relations in multi-ethnic, global cities.

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