Transnationalism and Assimilation as Conterminous Processes: A Comparative Study of New East European Immigrants in New York and Philadelphia

Other External Scholars:
Ewa Morawska, University of Pennsylvania
Project Date:
Aug 2001
Award Amount:
$22,750
Project Programs:
Immigration

Along with facilitating the flow of labor, capital, and information across national boundaries, globalization is also sparking a resurgence of immigration--much of it directed to the United States. Most immigration research either focuses on a group's attachment to its home country or on its integration in the receiving society. Ewa Morawska has designed a unique project to explore the extent to which different groups of immigrants maintain connections with their homeland, assimilate to life in the United States, or hold ties to both countries. Already having researched this issue among Indians in Los Angeles, Cubans in Miami, and Jamaicans, Chinese, and Dominicans in New York, she is now adding Polish and Russian Jewish immigrants in both New York and Philadelphia. These groups pose an interesting contrast; the latter utilize large networks of American Jews to enmesh themselves in American society, while the former are less likely to consider themselves permanently settled. In her previous research, Morawska identified 35 factors that influence the way groups balance assimilative and transnational identities. In open-ended, in-depth interviews, Morawska will ask respondents about their attachment to their native country including number of visits, phone and Internet contact, remittances and other economic investments, participation in cultural events, use of native language, and political engagement. In addition, she will ask respondents for their feelings about the United States: their goals while here, ambitions, perceptions of opportunities available, experience and reaction to prejudice and discrimination, and participation in mainstream activities.

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