Subfield Exam: Immigration and Stratification Theory

Migration / Policy / World Inequality

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5 Migration / Policy / World Inequality

Date: 09.21.2011

Title: Transformations in New Immigrant Religions and their global implications

Author: Yang, Fenggang and Helen Rose Ebaugh

Source: ASR 2001; 66:269-289

Category and Keyword: Immigrant Religions, Global, New Paradigm, Transnationalism, U.S. Immigrants


  • In the study of the new immigration, religion, and social changes, an important question is yet to be answered: What institutional changes do new immigrant religious communities undergo? As in the past, religion is important to newcomers for integrating into new country.


  • Old Paradigm: religious secularization is associated with modernization and pluralism-has been challenged as scholars demonstrate that religion is not declining, but that indeed it is thriving in pluralist American society (Finke and Stark 1992; Warner 1993).

NEW: But it hasn’t been declining, as predicted and new data shows that pluralism actually promotes institutional and theological transformations that energize and revitalize the religions.


  • There are three ways in which immigrants “transplant” their religion from their old place of living to their new place of living – a transformation.

1) adopting the congregational form in organization structure and ritual

2) returning to theological foundations

3) reaching beyond traditional boundaries to include other people

= a way to Americanize

=but also has global implications and transnational influences

secularization; a refute against it


  • Data looking at religious institutions primarily composed of “new immigrants” and use this data: Religion, Ethnicity and New Immigrants Research (RENIR) of Houston, TX. All major religions represented.

Problems of Immigrants:

  • Face marginality, i.e. minorities in a racially hierarchical society

  • Have an opportunity to capitalize on strength of being in a core country and influence religion in their country of origin.

  • Highly skilled (or educated) immigrants come to the US (lots more since 1965)


  • Contemporary immigrant religions are adopting the congregational form in 1) organizational structure and 2) ritual formality

1) e.g. call to prayer in Muslim countries does not exist in US, so go to mosque now.

e.g. Catholic Hispanic priests “bemoan” loss to evangelicals

e.g. Buddhists start congregations (not so in China)

Services Expand, a characteristic of a congregational structure

Organizational Networks created: develop regional, national and international networks and organizations (and resemble Protestant denominations); (E.G. Buddhist and Hindu congregations)

2) Ritual formalities like times for worship, ways to pray, roles of clergy (expand outside church ritual), language of worship (more translation into English i.e. from Sanskrit),
Returning to Theological Foundations:

  • Example: For many Muslim immigrants in our study, the evolution of the mosque from simply a place to pray to a center of social activity and learning means a reversion to the dynamic role the mosque was given in the days of Prophet Muhammad.

  • OR, When achieving a consensus among people of diverse subtraditions and ethnic backgrounds is the goal, one common strategy is to go back to the original founder and/ or some historic, authoritative leaders of the religion, and to the commonly recognized holy scriptures.

=overall, returning to theological foundations among immigrant religions is often ecumenical within a religion—that is, the process unites groups that vary in ideology, ethnicity, and national origin. It provides the theological foundation for social inclusiveness.
Social Inclusiveness:

  • Immigrant religious communities are generally moving from particularism to greater universalism in membership. This is the third process we observe in the transformation of immigrant religions in the United States.

Implications for Global Religious Systems:

  • However, they represent more than Americanization: These changes are also taking place in other parts of the world; and the changes in the United States have enabled these immigrant religious communities to exert power within their global religious systems.

  • For example, while Israel or Jerusalem remains the holy center of Judaism, the United States has become an important organizational and resource center of Judaism (284).

5 Migration / Policy / World Inequality

Date: 09.21.2011

Title: The South-to-North Migration of Women

Author: Hania Zlotnik

Source: Chapter 13.3 in book 2006, The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies (ed. by Messina and Lahav)

Category and Keyword: Migration, Women, Americas,


  • Using what data is available, document the migrant flow of women, particularly from developing to developed countries.


  • Role of migrant women in developed countries: maintain the identity of migrant communities; foster the integration of the family.

  • Foreign-born populations in the Americas: women were 50% or more. Tendency to be higher in developed rather than developing countries.

Oddity: (590-591) not sure what she means with “foreign born” and “foreign population.” It seems that she means that the foreign born may not be a part of the foreign population because of naturalization – OR – they may be a part of the foreign population if they are born in that country, but not considered a citizen (Germany) (jus sanguinis).

  • In 1960 – 1964, immigrants originating in the developing world accounted for only 12 and 42 percent, respectively of the immigrants admitted by Canada and the US. By 1985-1989, their share of total immigration to those countries had increased to 71 and 88 % respectively (Zlotnik, 1991).

  • In general, the proportion of women in gross immigration is lower when flows originate in developing than in developed countries. For immigrants originating in the different developing regions, high proportions of women are more likely among those from Latin America and from East and Southeast Asia …than among those from either Southern Asia or West Asia and North Africa (594).

5 Migration / Policy / World Inequality

Date: 09.22.2011

Title: Patterns of International Migration Policy: A Diachronic Comparison

Author: Aristide R. Zolberg

Source: Chapter 4.2 in book 2006, The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies (ed. by Messina and Lahav)

Category and Keyword: International Migration Policy, History Migration


  • The policy of states across their borders is examined. Why? To foster a contextual understanding of contemporary trends.


  • Using Rational choice language to study the issue: The determinants of such policy are multifaceted because the human beings involved are simultaneously assessed in two very different ways: as market actors, and within this most prominently as workers, and as actors within political institutions and cultural arenas.

= economic and 2) moral perspectives

e.g. immigrants may be desirable from an economic perspective, but not from a cultural perspective (moral) (xenophobia)

  • international migration as a distinctive phenomena:

=when global space was organized into territories and controlled by sovereign states – with rights to control their borders.
Three components: 1) importation of about 7.5 million West African slaves; 2) relocation of 2 to 3 million Europeans in New World colonies, mostly under some form of bondage 3) expulsion or flight of about 1 million from newly-forming Euro states in 16 & 17th centuries

Bondage: point was to prevent laborers from taking advantage of scarce labor supply

  • What such segregation entails, institutionally, is the erection of an internal boundary, which prevents the group under consideration from becoming incorporated into the receiving society.

= cultural homogeneity: Last massive wave of refugees were the Protestants who fled France when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes (1685).

  • By 1830, transition to new migration policies ended: to this time reflected the interrelated global changes known as the demographic, industrial, and democratic revolutions.

  • At this time, Britain swept away all rules for their populations to go to Australia, South African and U.S. In the U.S., the flow of population from the British isles contributed to higher returns on capital by increasing the supply of US labor and hence lowering its cost.

  • US DID NOT become a nation of immigrations until after the 1850s. From 1780 to 1830 estimates are that immigrants comprised only 6% of decennial growth.

  • Although there were no longer any immigration restrictions based on religion, it is well established that Americans viewed themselves very much as a protestant nation and regarded Catholicism as incompatible with a republican political culture.

  • Overall, the country’s immigration policy can be understood as one of the great triumphs of US capitalism.

  • 19th Century: abolition of slave trade did not effect South, as natural increase supplied the need.

  • Owners then turned to indentured servants to solve problem, and US had a version of this with Chinese workers.

Contemporary Patterns:

  • Restriction of who comes in since 20th century, and liberal states maintain this today. Refugees now outnumber the number of voluntary migrants (119).

  • Transportation spurs rapidity (RR & ship); The unevenness of world conditions was accentuated by a growing gap between a small number of capital-rich, technologically advanced, and strategically powerful countries …affected more than ever by way of colonial control and of the transnational economic, social, cultural, and political processes they generated.

  • The availability of such a vast reserve of cheap labor located abroad provides obvious opportunities for capitalists in the industrial countries, most prominently the possibility of cushioning the effects of the business cycle by procuring labor when it is needed and divesting themselves of it when it no longer is, without bearing the costs of maintaining it when unproductive.

  • US businesses adjusted to the exclusion of Asians and to the reduction in European immigration by turning to cheap labor from Mexico and the Caribbean;

  • 1964 – Bracero eliminated – allowed massive flow of undocumented;


  • It is obviously rational for affluent societies to erect walls in order to protect the desirable economic, cultural, and political conditions they have achieved, and there is no gainsaying that these states owe it to their own populations to provide them with such protection. But one should understand these policies for what they are: a collective device to prevent the redistribution of existing world resources to the benefit of the disadvantaged.

5 Migration / Policy / World Inequality

Date: 10.07.2011

Title: Give Us Your Best, Your Brightest: Immigration Policy Benefits U.S. Society Despite Increasing Problems

Author: Stephen Moore

Source: Chapter 8.3 in book 2006, The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies (ed. by Messina and Lahav)

Category and Keyword: International Migration Policy, Skilled Labor, Educated Labor


  • Article explains the benefits of skilled labor, contrasting it with headlines negative towards immigrants. Purpose: Convince readers that skilled immigration is good for America and to influence policy makers in that direction.

Points, Argument:

  • (Article was in the Atlantic Monthly); Describes Intel and Du Pont-Merck as companies whose famous products were created by immigrant labor (skilled);

  • Immigrants create jobs

    • Small businesses important (few turn into Intel, many fail) and are small and marginally profitable – but significant source of jobs.

    • Immigrant children take top honors in high schools and science competitions (valedictorians, Westinghouse on National Science Search Awards etc.);

    • With 1 million immigrants per year, the nation gains about $20 billion more than cost. Rather than fiscal burdens, immigrants are huge bargains.

  • By pursing a liberal and strategic policy on immigration, American can ensure that 21st century, like the 20th will be the American century.

5 Migration / Policy / World Inequality

Date: 10.07.2011

Title: Foreign Investment: a Neglected Variable

Author: Saskia Sassen

Source: Chapter 13.4 in book 2006, The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies (ed. by Messina and Lahav) (ORIGINALLY: 1990 article in BOOK)

Category and Keyword: Immigration, Foreign Investment, Labor Demand, Migration


  • Examine evidence on international labor migrations and on the internationalization of production – to help scholars understand the foreign investment variable.

To be Explained:

  • Understanding why a migration flow continues and sustains high levels invites an examination of demand conditions in the receiving country

  • The continuing concentration of the new immigration in several major cities which are global centers for highly specialized service and headquarters activities, an economic base we do not usually associate with immigrant labor.


  • Immigrant levels are high (absolute number wise) (esp. from Caribbean Basin and Southeast Asia)

  • Direct foreign investment has increased in developing countries that send migrants to the U.S. (growth rate): (all major industrial country investment) from 7% to 9.2 % (1968-1973) and 19.4% from 1973 to 1978.


  • Analysis of Export Processing Zones (EPZs)

Thesis points / Background points:

  • 1965 legislation: because most immigrants were European – the thinking was that the family unification would help them.

  • In sum, the push of unemployment, the pull of an existing immigrant community, and the need for cheap labor in declining and backward industries are elements for an explanation about high immigration in a period of high unemployment in the U.S.

  • Goal: Just capture what is happening IN THIS MOMENT.

  • AIM: How the existence of an immigrant workforce itself contributes to new conditions for the internationalization of production…


  • The expansion of export manufacturing and export agriculture, both inseparable related with direct foreign investment from the highly industrialized countries, has mobilized new segments of the population into regional and long-distance migrations.

  • MECHANISM: The development of commercial agriculture, which is almost completely for export, has directly displaced small farmers who are left without means of subsistence. This forces them to become wage-laborers in commercial agriculture or to migrate to cities. Sometimes the move from sharecropper or subsistence farmer to rural wage-laborer becomes a move to another country, e.g. Colombians in Venezuela agriculture or Mexicans in US agriculture. Dominicans to New York City for urban job;

  • MEDIATED: by massive recruitment of young women into newly created jobs – [maquiladoras]; becomes an indirect emigration inducement among males results from the disruption of traditional work structures;

  • Not a function of foreign investment per se: BUT: Developing countries could not have penetrated the export market in the absence of these arrangements with foreign investors which have access to those markets. 2) creates cultural-ideological and objective lings with the countries providing this capital.

    • under these conditions emigration may begin to emerge as an option actually felt by individuals

    • The ideological effect is not to be underestimated: the presence of foreign plants not only brings the US or any other ‘western” country closer, but is also “westernizes” the less developed country and its people.

    • Highly MEDIATED process.


  • Immigration can be seen as providing labor for 1) low-wage service jobs, including those that service a) the expanding, highly specialized export-oriented service sector and b) the high-income lifestyles of the growing top level professional workforce employed in that sector; 2) the expanding downgraded manufacturing sector including but not exclusively, declining industries in need of cheap labor for survival, as well as dynamic electronics sectors, some of which can actually be seen as apart of the downgraded sector. 3) the immigrant community itself.

  • Two analytical distinctions important to my argument are a) the distinction between job characteristics and sector characteristics, and b) the distinction between sector characteristics and growth status.

6 Inequality / Race & Ethnicity

Date: 10.07.2011

Title: The New Economics of Immigration: Affluent American Gain, Poor Americans Lose

Author: George J. Borjas

Source: Chapter 8.2 in book 2006, The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies (ed. by Messina and Lahav) (ORIGINALLY: 1996 in Atlantic Monthly)

Category and Keyword: Immigrants / Policy suggestions


  • Let economics frame the debate


  • Formula: how many immigrants the country should admit, and what kinds of people they should be

  • What lives should US immigration policy improve? 1) natives 2) immigrants 3) rest of world?

    • Answered by: what does US care most about

  • Increase the size of the pie – no matter the impact on the distribution of wealth in society.


  • Linking immigration to the business cycle: admit more immigrants when the economy is strong and the unemployment rate is low, and cut back on immigration when the economy is weak and the unemployment rate is high.

  • Reward skilled workers, since they help economy by having a greater portion of earnings paid in taxes.

  • Less skilled may increase a companies profits – argument for


  • The net gains from current immigration are small, so it is unlikely that these gains can play a crucial role in the policy debate.

  • the economic impact of immigration is essentially distributional

  • Current immigration redistributes wealth from unskilled workers, whose wages are lowered by immigrants, to skilled workers and owners of companies that buy immigrants’ services, and from taxpayers who bear the burden of paying for the social services used by immigrants to consumers who use the goods and services produced by immigrants.

Transnational Migration (7)

Date: 09.15.2011

Title: The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field

Author: Alejandro Portes, Luis Guarnizo, and Patricia Landolt

Source: Ethnic and Racial Studies, V2 N2 March 1999

Category and Keyword: Transnationalism (economic, political, and socio-cultural); immigrant adaptation; national development; social networks; technological development; social capital


  • To define the concept of transnationalism, provides a typology of this heterogeneous set of activities, and reviews some of the pitfalls in establishing and validating the topic as a novel research field.

Note: SEE 1. Theory article in 1997 by Portes of similar idea


  • Creation of a transnational community, linking immigrant groups in advanced countries with their respective sending nations

  • A critical mass has been arrived for this emergent social field

  • Three conditions are necessary before this phenomena exists:

    • involves a significant # of persons in the relevant universe (high intensity of exchanges)

    • activities posses a certain stability and resilience over time (new modes of transacting)

    • the activities cannot be captured by another concept (multiplication of activities)

      • EG: the travels of a Salvadoran viajero delivering mail and supplies to immigrant kin on a monthly basis

  • Unit of Analysis: the individual and his/her support networks as the proper unit of analysis in this area.

    • Other units, such as communities, economic enterprises, political parties, etc also come into play at subsequent and more complex stages of inquiry. Often these activities developed in reaction to governmental policies and by dependent capitalism.

  • Organized: This working typology of economic, political and socio-cultural trans- nationalism has undergirded our empirical study of the topic and has proved useful in organizing what otherwise would be a chaotic set of activities.

Table 1: Transnationalism and its types (Nature of Activities X level of institutionalization)

  • Low and High / with economic / Political and Socio-cultural rows


  • Did not happen earlier, because technological conditions did not make communication very rapid or easy. (Necessary condition for Transnationalism)

  • Historical antecedents are there (i.e. Spanish visiting home after fascist induced diaspora)

    • Itinerant merchants

    • circular labor migrations of the 19th century (advanced industrial capitalism); expansion of industry and commercial agriculture ran up against the barrier of dwindling domestic labor supplies (Lebergott 1964)

  • Contemporary Transnationalism: corresponds to a different period in the evolution of the world economy and to a different set of responses and strategies by people in a condition of disadvantage to its dominant logic. Herein lies the import of its emergence. (different forms of grass-roots transnationalism)

  • Broad Dynamics of the Phenomena: 1) tied to the logic of capitalist expansion 2) a phenomenon at variance with conventional expectations of immigrant assimilation 3) It has greater potential as a form of individual and group resistance to dominant structures than alternative strategies.

    • Motivation for immigrant: The presence of multinational corporations and the efficient marketing of their products in most sending countries fuels these desires by creating new consumption aspirations, difficult to fulfill by people within the limits of Third World economies (Alba 1978; Portes and Böröcz 1989; Grasmuck and Pessar 1991)

    • Resisting capitalists: The international expansion of capitalism in search of broader markets and cheaper labour has led to various attempts to resist its depredations. A prominent example is the ‘labour standards’ movement which has sought to halt the wholesale transfer of low-tech industry to less developed countries by imposing First World labour standards on these nations (Piore 1990).


  • Four CASE STUDIES are given to support this outline of transnationalism, the ties of U.S. immigrants to their home countries (i.e. El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Colombia).

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