Theoretical and Methodological Issues of Latina/o Research

  • Nestor Rodríguez

Latino research has expanded dramatically since the 1980s. It has developed across the traditional social science disciplines and expanded into other fields, drawn by the rapidly growing Latino population. In contrast to studies of other populations, such as Irish studies, Latino studies is less easily defined by social and cultural boundaries. Indeed, as discussed in this chapter, Latino boundaries are fluid, not fixed, from the perspectives of objective and subjective indicators.

This chapter addresses several issues concerning the development of Latino social science in the United States. These issues concern the change in theoretical and empirical approaches, the definition of Latino, the nature of Latino social change, conceptualizations of Latino social incorporation, and the limitations of the institutional base of Latino research. The chapter concludes with brief comments on future Latino research. The discussion is developed with broad strokes, given the size limitation of the exercise. What is presented is what the author considers to be the salient patterns, admittedly from a sociological perspective, and others might reach different conclusions. A challenge in attempting an overview of Latino research is to determine the boundaries of the field. For expediency in this limited exercise, Latino research refers to studies on Latin American-origin people in the United States. Latinas and Latinos have undertaken much of this research, and members of other groups have contributed to this field of research as well.


Census Bureau Latino Population Mexican Immigrant Latino Immigration Critical Race Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nestor Rodríguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of HoustonUSA

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