Chapter 7

Chapter 7 provided a nice summary of Guest’s ethnography on the Fuzhounese immigrants in Chinatown. Through their example, many themes were explored that have been discussed through this semester in the other readings, such as the concept of transnationalism that Foner discussed. In essence, we consider a question we first started with, the question of the identity one adopts as they develop transnational ties between the nation emigrated from and immigrated to. The answer lies in religion, and it always has been. The flexible nature of practicing religion enables immigrants to prosper and work towards their goals despite the difficult social and financial climate that they are not well suited to. Thus, the religious events that transpire because of the immigrants’ efforts are not just a means of devotion, but of maintaining social order (such as the domus of Italian Harlem) and advocacy (like the Muslim Day Parade) as well. It is interesting to observe the sources of assistance that the immigrants rely on. As seen with the Fuzhounese and Mexican immigrants, divine help is a branch of solace, but the community holds the same significance. Only such is possible, however, because of religion, for it brings about the community. But in this community, there is social stratification as described by Guest. This order is expected as those who are better adapted due to time tend to be higher on the social ladder, but ultimately it occurs to provide guidance and maintain order within the community. The domus had strict roles, but it achieved its goal of preserving the Italian family. But, one must wonder, is it all worth the trip to adapt to an unknown environment and undergo financial struggles through tough labor experiences? The answer for most is yes, and that’s how these groups developed recognizable identities fighting for a better status as an immigrant. Overall, the conclusion was a concise read that encompassed our discussions throughout the semester.

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