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Authors: Tian, Ziyao
Advisors: Xie, Yu
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Asian American
race and ethnicity
social mobility
Subjects: Sociology
Asian American studies
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the philosophy, behaviors, and consequences of the educational investments of Asian American families in critical historical times from the Asian Exclusion Period (1882–1943) to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapter 1 uses historical censuses to examine the social mobility of Asian Americans in the early 20th century. It reveals a contrasting pattern of high intergenerational educational mobility but low occupational mobility among U.S.-born Asians who came of age during the Exclusion. This chapter complements existing theories of immigrant assimilation that have overlooked the mobility experiences of Asian Americans despite explicit exclusionary laws and the disconnection between educational and occupational mobility. Chapter 2 examines the K–12 educational expenses of contemporary Asian American families using the nationally representative Consumer Expenditure Surveys (2009–2022). Analyses suggest that Asians outspend Whites on K–12 education in general but most substantially on housing to improve their children’s access to better public education. These results highlight housing expenditures as one of the most expensive forms of educational investments today. Chapter 3 uses interviews with middle-class Chinese and Indian parents in New Jersey (N = 44) between December 2020 and January 2022 to study childrearing philosophies and cautions against a simplistic description of Asian American parenting as academics-centered. I argue that middle-class Asian parenting can be better understood as an “inclusive assimilation” process: Asian parents aim for a well-rounded education that resembles the aim of White parenting, but similarly to other minority parents, they enrich the concept with racial socialization tasks in the face of rising anti-Asian violence. This pattern contests the unidirectional assimilation process that presumes White middle-class families as the default destination. Together, this dissertation shows how the American public tends to use parenting behaviors to measure Asian Americans’ foreignness despite drastic changes in the group’s demography.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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