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Title: The City Within: Growing up Vietnamese in Little Saigon
Authors: Huynh, Jennifer Ann
Advisors: Portes, Alejandro
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Ethnic Enclave
Vietnamese refugees
Subjects: Sociology
Asian American studies
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Social scientists have primarily studied the socioeconomic consequences of ethnic enclaves, with emphasis on immigrants’ earnings and social mobility. Unfortunately, by focusing on the effects of ethnic entrepreneurship on the outcomes of adult immigrants, these studies fail to explore the point of view of immigrant children and the noneconomic effects of ethnic entrepreneurship. This dissertation focuses on these overlooked areas and examines how immigrants and their children living in new suburban ethnic communities are transforming the communities around them, redefining American society in the process. Suburban segregation has changed the ethnic composition and social spaces in which immigrants spend their time. Using a case study of the largest enclave of Vietnamese refugees in Southern California, I investigate community formation and the effects of ethnic entrepreneurship on first and second generation immigrants. The major empirical findings from this study present several theoretical contributions to the sociology of immigration, transnationalism, and economic sociology. First, I show that academic profiling occurs for Vietnamese in Little Saigon in predominantly minority schools, complicating Asian American theories of race and ethnicity. Vietnamese racially pass as Asian not only for the benefits of the model minority myth but also the class and status that being Asian signals. Second, building on existing theories of immigrant integration, I find that transnational practices and ties work as a new mode of immigrant integration for the second generation. Vietnamese refugees and their children look to Vietnam as a site for transnational economic and political practices, and transnational activism transforms Little Saigon and integration. Finally, I show how the community serves as a conduit in which memories of war, trauma, and flight are being reconstructed and passed onto the second generation. These findings have implications on the study of racial and ethnic settlement patterns, immigrant incorporation, and Diaspora in multi-racial contexts. The US government currently has the largest refugee resettlement program in the world. Studying the case of the US adoption of Vietnamese refugees, its longest running refugee program in US history, has public policy implications for the integration and treatment of other refugee populations.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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