Dr. Ana Aparicio (Northwestern University) will conduct qualitative research on the development of inter-group relations among three (Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans) Latino populations in suburban New York and on how they represent and perform cultural identities and political perspectives in public spaces. Recent census data reveal that Latino and immigrant populations comprise a significant and ever-growing segment of the population in non-urban locales in the United States. Through the use of ethnographic, interview, mapping, and archival methods, this study will document demographic, political, and social transformations occurring in a contemporary Latino suburb of New York with special attention to emergent forms of pan-Latino identity. Examination of these transformations will be understood and contextualized within three marked shifts in the contemporary U.S.: 1) the suburbanization of poverty in the the late 20th and early 21st centuries, 2) increasing levels of heterogeneity (with respect to class, race, citizenship status, and national origins) of Latinos and Latino immigrants in non-traditional receiving areas, and 3) increased legal attention to citizenship status in these landscapes.
This study will address a series of objectives: understand what places, policies, and processes affect the manner in which different groups relate to one another; develop analysis of how the political, economic, and social topographies of a locale affect the manner in which diverse Latino groups organize public events that signal identity and relationship; provide data and analysis of new immigrant destinations and how these populations are transforming suburbs and public spaces.
Research findings and outcomes will provide information about and contribute to theorizing on racial/ethnic formation, inter-group relations, immigrant politics, "Latinidad" (new identity movement), and urban-suburban transformations in the 21st century. The study will also offer a timely contribution to local and national debates about Latinos and immigrant policies in non-traditional receiving areas.