Middle-class immigrant identities: Dominican-Americans in South Florida
Identity studies of immigrants are complex because of multiple influences affecting identity reconstruction during immigration and acculturation: nationality, socio-cultural differences, occupations, education, spatial and geographic locations, age, gender, and personal attributes. Most immigrant identity studies deal with lower-income immigrants, who do not have the resources of middle- and upper-middle-class immigrants. South Florida is “home” to many middle-class immigrants, including Dominican-Americans. This dissertation interviewed sixty-six Dominican immigrants in South Florida, in order to determine their reconstructed identities after immigration/resettlement and to discover what influences contributed to these changes in identities. ^ The research design of this dissertation utilized an inductive, qualitative model, with the “grounded theory” method of data collection, categorization, and analysis. Participants were selected by a snowball sampling and interviewed with an informal questionnaire. Results were transcribed, categorized, tabulated, and analyzed for conclusions and theorization on immigrant identity. ^ The dissertation addressed numerous influences relating to identity reconstruction: the differing circumstances of immigration, the unique resources of middle- and higher-class immigrants, the nurturing environment of South Florida for immigrants with education and professional skills, and the boundary protection offered by suburban spaces. The interviewees displayed a wide range of age, length of residence in the United States, reasons for immigration, entry ports, settlement, relocations, occupations, and claimed identities. Identity was cross-tabulated with the various influences, as a means of invalidating certain influences and indicating possible trends. ^ The dissertation concluded that middle-class immigrant identities are diverse and multiple, as are the related influences. None of these immigrants had become totally assimilated, nor have they retained dual, non-overlapping attachments or frames of reference. Instead, many of the immigrants seemed to have developed or negotiated two or more identities, according to need, context, and personal interest. A cosmopolitan community such as South Florida seems to have encouraged such multiplicity of identity. However, rather than forming free-flowing identities, most of these immigrants eventually developed diverse and hybrid identities that have bounded attachments to various networks, groups, and places in South Florida. ^
Sociology, Theory and Methods|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Carol M Hoffman,
"Middle-class immigrant identities: Dominican-Americans in South Florida"
(January 1, 2002).
ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU.