American Ethnic Practices in the Twenty-first Century

American Ethnic Practices in the Twenty-first Century : The Milwaukee Study

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American Ethnic Practices in the Early Twenty-first Century: The Milwaukee Study is a work based on a twelve-year research project conducted in the greater Milwaukee area by Urban Anthropology Inc. The qualitative study examined the current strength of ethnicity and the contributions that ethnic practices have made to the wider society. Since Barth (1970), social scientists-especially sociocultural anthropologists-have moved toward deconstructing ethnicity by concentrating on the malleability of ethnic identity. This work takes a new approach by focusing on ethnic practices. The most prominent findings in The Milwaukee Study were the ways that community-building activities of ethnic groups contributed to the wider society; and how this, in turn, can help restore a needed balance between individualism and collectivism in the United States. Since the first edition of Habits of the Heart (Bellah et al, 1985), public discourse about ways to restore this balance has been ubiquitous. Most discussions have focused only on strengthening families, faith communities, or neighborhoods, and have ignored the activity and potential of ethnic groups, even though it was during this span of time that interest in multiculturalism in education and politics reached its more

Product details

  • Hardback | 160 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739178296
  • 9780739178294

Review quote

Jill Florence Lackey melds sensitive ethnography with sophisticated discussion of the literature on ethnicity in contemporary American cities in American Ethnic Practices. She presents 'ground-truthing' sociological theories derived from her experience at UrbAn, a grassroots non-profit organization in Milwaukee. This book tests sociological theories against the hundreds of interviews and observations that Lackey and her staff have made of several ethnic communities in Milwaukee. Rich and direct excerpts from these interviews invite readers to form their own conclusions. Organized, compared, and interpreted, the excerpts help to make up a clearly written picture of multiculturalism in an American heartland city. -- Alice Beck Kehoe, professor of anthropology emeritus, Marquette University We must thank Jill Florence Lackey and her many associates for their labors in collecting these data and providing us with a vivid and somewhat unexpected view of the variety and the continuing significance of ethnicity in Milwaukee. Jill Lackey has demonstrated the many manifestations of this important phenomenon and how it can serve individuals, families, and communities and municipalities in our current situation. -- Herbert S. Lewis, University of Wisconsin-Madison Anthropologist Lackey (founder, Urban Anthropology Inc.) presents the findings of a study of ethnic practices among a sample of 434 individuals in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area. The author discusses the continued salience of ethnicity in the lives of her informants in the realms of organizational involvement, language, homeland remittances, religion, foodways, art, health care, genealogy, politics, and employment. She also presents informants' views of what they perceive as some of the primary threats to the maintenance of their ethnicity, as well as data and snapshots of informant interviews on a range of relevant topics. In a short concluding section, Lackey discusses the study's broader implications for understanding contemporary ethnicity in the US, though this section is limited to just a few pages, unfortunately. This case study from one metropolitan area will definitely be of interest to students and scholars working in ethnic studies, particularly those conducting research and teaching in the Midwest. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries. CHOICE American Ethnic Practices in the Early Twenty-First Century: The Milwaukee Study is an impressive work of contemporary cultural anthropology. This extremely well-written volume summarizes data from qualitative interviews with 434 informants, using extensive quotations to provide perspectives on ethnicity using the participant's own words. Lackey provides an impressive breadth of analysis rooted in historical trends and classical theoretical orientations on immigration, assimilation, and ethnicity drawn from sociology and anthropology. Her extensive analysis demonstrates how ethnic practices, organizations, and identity have made significant contributions to individual, familial, and communal social lives throughout Milwaukee. This book is a deceptively easy read that covers extensive theoretical and substantive content with remarkable depth. -- Paul Moberg, University of Wisconsin-Madisonshow more

About Jill Florence Lackey

Jill Florence Lackey, PhD, is an urban cultural anthropologist, specializing in urban ethnicity. She is the founder and principal investigator of Urban Anthropology Inc., a nonprofit organization that celebrates cultural diversity, trains young anthropologists, conducts ethnic research, and engages in urban problem solving. She taught research methods, cultural anthropology, and program evaluation at Marquette University for twelve years. Her publications include Accountability in Social Services: The Culture of the Paper Program, and numerous journal articles on more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments 1 Why Should We Care About Ethnicity? 2 The Milwaukee Study: Its Methodology and Context 3 Ethnic Practices: Organizations and Their Functions 4 Ethnic Practices: Language and Language Retention 5 Ethnic Practices: Ties to Past Homelands 6 Ethnic Practices: Religion 7 Ethnic Practices: Food 8 Ethnic Practices: Art Forms 9 Ethnic Practices: Healthcare and Healing 10 Ethnic Practices: Genealogy 11 Ethnic Practices: Political Activity 12 Ethnic Practices: Working 13 The Sum of Ethnic Practices 14 Life in Multi-ethnic America 15 Threats to Ethnicity 16 A New Vision for American Ethnicity Appendix Bibliography Index About the Authorshow more