Immigrant kinship networks and the impact of the receiving context: Salvadorans in San Francisco in the early 1990s

Cecilia Menjívar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on ethnographic fieldwork and intensive interviews, this article analyses the assistance 50 recently arrived Salvadorans in San Francisco obtained from their families. Two distinct profiles emerged: one where immigrant newcomers received sustained assistance from their kinfolk, and the other where such support faltered upon their arrival. Focusing on the experiences of the latter group, I argue that kinfolk can provide benefits only when material and physical conditions in the receiving context permit. Unfavorable factors, such as government immigration policies, local labor market opportunities, and the organization of the reception in the community, created conditions for weakened kinship networks. This study warns that immigrant kinship networks are not reproduced automatically in the new environment. These social relations are contingent upon the physical and material conditions within which they unfold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-123
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Problems
Volume44
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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