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On Community: Sojourners and Settlers - Essay Example

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The works "The Structure of 'Revealed' Preference: Race, Community and Female Labor Supply in the London Clothing Industry" by Naila Kabeer and "The Power of the Imagined Community: The Settlement of Undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans in the United States " by Leo R…
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On Community: Sojourners and Settlers
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Download file to see previous pages Taken together, these two articles highlight the differences between the immigrants in Britain and United States which can be directly attributed to the dissimilarity of their race and culture. While the Mexican and Central American immigrants became settlers who embraced the new culture in their new community, the Bengali's became sojourners who became attached to their homeland.
In Chavez's article, he looks at the concept of "imagined community" using the undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants to the United States as subjects. An imagined community as posited by Anderson is different from the typical community formed by individuals living in the same geographical region and sharing the same values, principles, ideologies, and culture. An imagined community, as the term implies, refers to a "virtual" community which exists only in the mind of the individuals forming it: "Members of modern nations cannot possibly know all their fellow members, and 'yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion. It is imagined community because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship'" (Chavez 219-220) Thus, what binds members in this specific community is the shared fundamental membership of the community. In the context of this imagined community, he then describes the type of community which was exemplified by the Mexican and Central American immigrants. To clarify further, he delineates between sojourners and settlers quoting the works of Park Siu. Accordingly, a sojourner is "the immigrant who maintains an orientation to the home country" (qtd. in Chavez 221), while the settler is the immigrant whose orientation has shifted from his places of origin to his new community.
Chavez asserts that the immigrants under consideration can be classified as members of the imagined community. This fact is supported by the immigrants' retention of ties with their home families and their communities of origin. Thus, Mexican and Central American immigrants retain their membership to their "imagined communities" of origin though they stay in America. Chavez, however, stresses that the feeling of belongingness and membership is not only developed in a single community but could be felt for multiple communities. He then asserts that these immigrants experience a change in orientation brought about by their new experiences in the new community: "And while many Mexican immigrants retain their ties with their home families and communities, this does not necessarily undermine their experiences in their new communities, experiences that may isolate them from the larger society or lead to a change in their orientation from sojourners to settlers" (222). Chavez concluded that the Mexicans and Central American immigrants have "developed social linkages, cultural sentiment, and economic ties" which resulted to the establishment of their sense of belongingness to the United States. Notably, they began imagining themselves as a part of their new community though they do not necessarily possess a "profound sense of shared identity with the larger community" (222). Thus, they have irrefutably become settlers.
The community described by Kabeer in her article is rather different from the one portrayed by Chavez. This article explains the impact of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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