Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Migration in the age of globalization: Transnationalism, identity, social class, and education of Latino families
by Crespo Sancho, Catalina, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2009, 233; 3356018
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation addresses the connections between migration, identity, social class, and education, and how these relations create contemporary transnational individuals. I closely examine how Latino migrant families live their every day lives within a transnational context. Specifically, I compare the migration experience of middle and poor class Latinos from varying nationality and look at how they live and narrate concepts of belonging, ethnic identity, and social class. In addition, I examine how families and schools give advantages and/or disadvantages to Latino migrant children.

Over a 12-month period, I conducted in-depth ethnographic case studies of 4 Latino families of varying nationalities and social class. The research design includes interviews with family members and school teachers, field observations at homes and schools, document collection, and field notes. The comparative ethnographic design of this research offers a detailed understanding of the processes through which families of diverse background cope with migration.

This work shows how Latino families simultaneously engage in different social practices within multiple locations. In particular, it shows how social class is being transformed by to the movement of people and the shifting global economy. The findings reveal that there are important differences in how Latinos of different background settle and adapt to a new country, create networks of support, navigate the educational system, and relate to other ethnic and racial groups, including other Latinos. It also uncovers that differences in uses and access to technology leads to inequality between schools and families; this digital divide is in many ways related to race and ethnicity. In conclusion, I point out the need to adopt a multidimensional approach when studying transnational migrants. This approach helps us understand the often contradictory set of forces operating in these families.

Implications of this study highlight the need for teachers and schools to look at the culture and the home environment of their students. The findings show that schools need to be active participants in the development of parental involvement programs that take into account the families’ cultural background. In addition, schools need to look more closely at the instruction on uses of technology needed to compete in the globalized world. For policy-makers, this study reveals that a new type of nation building is occurring; one that is based on multiple belongings and loyalties. Thus, this study suggests that the United States should adopt a migration agenda based on the possibility of having double loyalty, where migrants living in the U.S. are allowed to feel a sense of responsibility and duty to several countries.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weis, Lois
Commitee: Dimitriadis, Greg, Li, Guofang
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Education, Leadership & Policy
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Ethnicity, Families, Latino, Migration, Social stratification, Transnationalism
Publication Number: 3356018
ISBN: 978-1-109-15702-4
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