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Reading: New Perspectives on Immigrant Contexts of Reception: The cultural armature of cities

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New Perspectives on Immigrant Contexts of Reception: The cultural armature of cities

Authors:

Bernadette Nadya Jaworsky ,

Department of Sociology, Masaryk University, Brno, CZ
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Peggy Levitt,

Department of Sociology, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs/The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, US
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Wendy Cadge,

Department of Sociology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, US
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Jessica Hejtmanek,

Independent Scholar, Brooklyn, NY, US
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Sara R. Curran

Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, US
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Abstract

We argue that important, overlooked differences in what we call the ‘cultural armature’ of Portland, Maine, and Danbury, Connecticut help explain the variation in how each city received new immigrants in recent years. Portland has a long history of contact with the outside world and used its cosmopolitan character to promote urban redevelopment and welcome immigrants from a range of countries of origin. Danbury’s small-town, insular outlook, and the fact that most of its newcomers came from a single country of origin – some without legal documents – made immigrants’ welcome more fragmented. While leaders in both cities speak of multiculturalism and tolerance, the ‘cultural armature’ of each led city leaders to put that talk into action differently. We describe how we see this ‘cultural armature’ at work and argue that it – in combination with demographic realities – led immigrants to be more warmly welcomed in Portland than in Danbury.
How to Cite: Jaworsky, B.N., Levitt, P., Cadge, W., Hejtmanek, J. and Curran, S.R., 2012. New Perspectives on Immigrant Contexts of Reception: The cultural armature of cities. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 2(1), pp.78–88. DOI: http://doi.org/10.2478/v10202-011-0029-6
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Published on 01 Mar 2012.
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