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Race, region and the territorial politics of immigration in the US.

Authors
  • Wright, R
  • Ellis, M
Type
Published Article
Journal
International journal of population geography : IJPG
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
Volume
6
Issue
3
Pages
197–211
Identifiers
PMID: 12349714
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Zelinsky and Lee recently unveiled a model of the sociospatial process of immigrant settlement designed to augment and possibly supplant the well-known theories of assimilation and pluralism. Although in some ways new, their work continues a tradition in social science that treats the settlement geography of immigrants as a measure of their more general fit into American society. The authors question the prevailing assumption that immigrant settlement patterns represent a barometer of their adaptation, or lack thereof, to a host society. This critique of the concepts of assimilation, pluralism and Zelinsky and Lee's alternative "heterolocal" model of immigrant settlement pivots around the issues of spatial scale and race. The authors argue that the contestations over immigration and how well immigrants fit into society are increasingly constructed at the regional scale. The authors also assert that questions race infuse almost all aspects of these debates. The transformation of America's largest city-regions into places of non-White immigrants, and the shifting political balance of power to states like California through immigration-driven reapportionment, are touchstones for anti-immigration initiatives and associated local and national debate. Fear of racial regional changes underpins an increasingly powerful response to immigration. The reactions elicited by these settlement geographies fall under the heading the authors call the "territorial politics of immigration".

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