Alejandro Portes examines economic sociology's principal assumptions, key explanatory concepts, and selected research sites. He argues that economic activity is embedded in social and cultural relations, but also that power and the unintended consequences of rational purposive action must be factored in when seeking to explain or predict economic behavior. Drawing upon a wealth of examples, Portes identifies three strategic sites of research--the informal economy, ethnic enclaves, and transnational communities--and he eschews grand narratives in favor of mid-range theories that help us understand specific kinds of social action.
The book shows how the meta-assumptions of economic sociology can be transformed, under certain conditions, into testable propositions, and puts forward a theoretical agenda aimed at moving the field out of its present impasse.
"Alejandro Portes and his splendid band of collaborators make clear that the causes, processes, and consequences of migration vary dramatically from group to group, that a group's history makes a profound difference to its fate in the American economy. They have produced a sinewy book, a book worth arguing with."—Charles Tilly, Columbia University
The Economic Sociology of Immigration forges a dynamic link between the theoretical innovations of economic sociology with the latest empirical findings from immigration research, an area of critical concern as the problems of ethnic poverty and inequality become increasingly profound. Alejandro Portes' lucid overview of sociological approaches to economic phenomena provides the framework for six thoughtful, wide-ranging investigations into ethnic and immigrant labor networks and social resources, entrepreneurship, and cultural assimilation. Mark Granovetter illustrates how small businesses built on the bonds of ethnicity and kinship can, under certain conditions, flourish remarkably well. Bryan R. Roberts demonstrates how immigrant groups' expectations of the duration of their stay influence their propensity toward entrepreneurship. Ivan Light and Carolyn Rosenstein chart how specific metropolitan environments have stimulated or impeded entrepreneurial ventures in five ethnic populations. Saskia Sassen provides a revealing analysis of the unexpectedly flexible and vital labor market networks maintained between immigrants and their native countries, while M. Patricia Fernandez Kelly looks specifically at the black inner city to examine how insular cultural values hinder the acquisition of skills and jobs outside the neighborhood. Alejandro Portes also depicts the difference between the attitudes of American-born youths and those of recent immigrants and its effect on the economic success of immigrant children.
The second edition, while being as all-embracing in its coverage as the first edition, represents a wholesale revamping. Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg have kept the main overall framework intact, but nearly two-thirds of the chapters are new or have new authors. As in the first edition, they bring together leading sociologists as well as representatives of other social sciences. But the thirty chapters of this volume incorporate many substantial thematic changes and new lines of research--for example, more focus on international and global concerns, chapters on institutional analysis, the transition from socialist economies, organization and networks, and the economic sociology of the ancient world. The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Edition is the definitive resource on what continues to be one of the leading edges of sociology and one of its most important interdisciplinary adventures. It is a must read for all faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates doing work in the field.A thoroughly revised and updated version of the most comprehensive treatment of economic sociology available Almost two-thirds of the chapters are new or have new authors Authors include leading sociologists as well as representatives of other social sciences Substantial thematic changes and new lines of research, including more focus on international and global concerns, institutional analysis, the transition from socialist economies, and organization and networks The definitive resource on what continues to be one of the leading edges of sociology and one of its most important interdisciplinary adventures A must read for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates doing work in the field
The New Second Generation chronicles the lives of second generation youth in Miami, New York City, New Orleans, and Southern California. The contributors balance careful analysis with the voices of the youngsters themselves, focusing primarily on education, career expectations, language preference, ethnic pride, and the influence of their American-born peers. Demographic portraits by Leif Jensen and Yoshimi Chitose and by Charles Hirschman reveal that although most immigrant youths live at or below the official poverty line, this disadvantage is partially offset by the fact that their parents are typically married, self-employed, and off welfare. However, the children do not always follow the course set by their parents, and often challenge immigrant ethics with a desire to embrace American culture. Mary Waters examines how the tendency among West Indian teens to assume an American black identity links them to a legacy of racial discrimination. Although the decision to identify as American or as immigrant usually presages how well second generation children will perform in school, the formation of this self-image is a complex process. M. Patricia Fernandez-Kelly and Richard Schauffler find marked differences among Hispanic groups, while Ruben G. Rumbaut explores the influence of individual and family characteristics among Asian, Latin, and Caribbean youths.
Nativists frequently raise concerns about the proliferation of a non-English speaking population heavily dependent on welfare for economic support. But Alejandro Portes and Richard Schauffler's historical analysis of language preferences among Miami's Hispanic youth reveals their unequivocal preference for English. Nor is immigrationan inevitable precursor to a swollen welfare state: Lisandro Perez and Min Zhou and Carl L. Bankston demonstrate the importance of extended families and ethnic community solidarity in improving school performance and providing increased labor opportunities.
As immigration continues to change the face of our nation's cities, we cannot ignore the crucial issue of how well the second generation youth will adapt. The New Second Generation provides valuable insight into issues that may spell the difference between regeneration and decay across urban America.
Following an introduction that delineates the scope of Latin American urban studies, Portes discusses the Latin American city as a creation of European colonialism. He goes on to examine political behavior among the poor, with central reference to system support and countersystem potential. Walton provides material for a comparative study of four cities: Monterrey and Guadalajara in Mexico and Medellín and Cali in Colombia. He also summarizes a large number of urban elite studies and develops a theoretical interpretation of their collective results, based on class structure and vertical integration. Material in each chapter is cross-referenced to other chapters, and the authors have used a common methodological approach in synthesizing and interpreting the research literature. In the final chapter they generalize current findings, elaborating on the interface between elite and mass politics in the urban situation. They make some observations on approaching changes and pinpoint possible research strategies for the future.