Contemporary Conversations on Immigration in the United States

Contemporary Conversations on Immigration in the United States : The View from Prince George's County, Maryland

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Contemporary Conversations on Immigration in the United States: The View from Prince George's County, Maryland contextualizes the narratives of international migrants arriving to Prince George's County, Maryland from 1968 to 2009. The life course trajectories of seventy individuals and their networks, organized chronologically to include life in the country of origin, the journey, and settlement in the county, frame migration as social issue rather than social problem. Having internalized the American dream, immigrants toil to achieve upward social mobility while constructing an immigrant space that nurtures well-being. This book demonstrates that an immigrant's experience is grounded in personal, social, economic, and political spheres of influence, and reflects the complexity of migrants' stories to help demystify homogenous categorization.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 212 pages
  • 160 x 238 x 22mm | 467g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 10 Tables, unspecified; 7 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0739182625
  • 9780739182628

Review quote

Anthropologist Freidenberg seeks to contribute to a growing body of literature making a case for understanding the US immigrant experience through local contexts, using interviews with more than 70 international migrants who settled in Prince George's County, Maryland (an eastern suburb of Washington, D.C.) between 1968 and 2009. The book's purview is promising and the author offers a fine history of Prince George's County going back to before European contact, a solid sociological and demographic portrayal of the area, and a rich wealth of ethnographic interview narratives with immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia... Freidenberg seeks to frame immigration as a complex societal issue that Americans must own and embrace as part of the nation's heritage, rather than as a problem to be blamed on others; this goal is commendable... Summing Up: Recommended ... Academic and regional collections. CHOICE Judith Freidenberg's Contemporary Conversations on Immigration in the United States: The View from Prince George's County, Maryland enhances a growing literature that argues for understanding the U.S. immigrant experience through a focus on local places as contexts of settlement. Freidenberg skillfully weaves historical data together with media analysis and immigrant voices to tell the story of Prince George's County in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She argues that native-born acceptance is a major influence on the experience of immigrants. Furthermore, this book offers an insightful and powerful critique of the process by which a social issue becomes a social problem. Policy-makers should particularly take notice of these key points. They are instrumental to immigration reform. -- Caroline B. Brettell, Southern Methodist University By centering her narrative on migrant's voices and testimonies, Freidenberg provides a textured analysis of the larger structures, histories, and contexts that affect contemporary immigration. The result is a welcomed antidote to the homogenizing narratives on immigration that dominate public debate and existing scholarship. -- Arlene Davila, New York University The immigration reform packages introduced, debated, and, in recent history, killed in Congress have very little and quite a lot to do with the lives of the immigrants who live in Washington, D.C.'s shadow as revealed in Freidenberg's book. Although from diverse origins, the experiences of immigrants-at home and abroad-are surprisingly similar. In their daily lives, the immigrants whose voices are central to Freidenberg's account are affected primarily in the sense that the failure of Congress to act creates a nagging sense of lived ambivalence. Yet in their life courses, the continuing lack of comprehensive immigration reform translates into frustrated hopes and persistent downward mobility. Emphasizing immigration as an issue rather than a problem, Freidenberg is careful to allow the immigrants of Prince George's County to speak for themselves rather than either imposing her own interpretations on their thoughts and actions, or pushing them to the sidelines by means of a more abstract and erudite discussion of immigration, reserving her commentary to succinct summaries of the lived experiences of immigrants. The resulting merger of indigenous and intellectual knowledge is not only original but also develops a rich and at times subtle understanding the complexities of immigrants' lives. -- David Griffith, East Carolina Universityshow more

About Judith Noemi Freidenberg

Judith Noemi Freidenberg is professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland and director of The Anthropology of the Immigrant Life Course Research Program.show more

Table of contents

Introduction: Understanding the United States through the Immigrant Life Course Part I: Contexts of Immigrant Experience Chapter 1: The People of Prince George's County Chapter 2: Conversations about County Identity Part II: Testimonies of Immigrant Experience Chapter 3: Growing Up, Making an Exit Decision, and Leaving Chapter 4: Immigrant Journeys Chapter 5: Life Changes in New Destinations Part III: Globalizing the Immigrant Experience Chapter 6: Ideology of the "Good Life" Chapter 7: Imagined and Empirical Frontiers Epilogue: To Continue the Conversations Appendix 1: Immigrant Experience Interview Schedule Appendix 2: Video Linksshow more

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