The Economic Adaptation of Past and Present Immigrants: Lessons from a Comparative-Historical Approach

  • Ewa Morawska

Abstract

In the comparative aspect of this discussion I examine similarities and differences in the contexts and mechanisms of the economic adaptation of turn-of-the-twentieth-century and contemporary immigrants in the United States. I consider comparable groups of these past and present travelers, that is, immigrants representative of the so-called compass or S/E (South/East)-N/W (North/West) pattern of population movement from (semi-)peripheral to core regions of the world. (I exclude currently common type of N/W-N/W immigrants). Two theoretical and two epistemological premises inform the historical-sociological approach to this task. The first conceives social phenomena not as isolated events but as time- and place-contingent processes of “becoming” (Abrams, 1982). The concept of changing time and space coordinates of social life as constitutive mediums of societal processes and, thus, as limiting their frames, makes them inherently flexible, context-contingent, and, thus, underdetermined. (For elaborations of these ideas, see Abbott, 2001; Aminzade, 1992; Calhoun, 1996; Hall, 1999).

Keywords

Migration Depression Europe Transportation Assimilation 

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Copyright information

© Gökçe Yurdakul and Y. Michal Bodemann 2007

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  • Ewa Morawska

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