PUERTO RICANS IN NEW YORK CITY: THE BICULTURAL OPTION

KEVIN JOHN COLLERAN, Fordham University

Abstract

There are few issues in sociology that can arouse as much professional and popular response as the question of ethnicity. Of course, the debate about what has happened to immigrants and to their cultures in American society is not a new one. However, the recent increase in the literature has demonstrated renewed interest in this area.^ The purpose of this presentation will be to examine the adaptation of one particular group, the Puerto Ricans, in the light of existing theory and an empirical study, which was conducted by The Hispanic Research Center of Fordham University. It will be the firm contention of this presentation that questions about cultural adaptation can only be resolved by careful, empirical investigation. Thus, theoretical considerations will guide the analysis of the material on a group of Puerto Ricans that is available here, and, in turn, be refined and informed by the data.^ After discussing the history and present state of the theories of assimilation and acculturation, various elements from Puerto Rican culture will be selected to examine for evidence of change and adaptation among the group under consideration here. These elements will center on identity, language and values.^ The particular merit of the study being used here is that it is an intergenerational investigation of one hundred Puerto Rican families in New York. The one hundred grown, married children, who will be the central focus of this presentation, can be compared to their actual parents to search for evidence of change in the New York environment. Thus, this body of data offers advantages that are not often available in sociological investigation.^ The results of the statistical procedures that are used here are that these one hundred people are indeed very different from their parents and are acculturating in New York. In looking for the reasons for this pattern, two factors stand out: they have far more education than their parents and they are mostly from the second or third generation in New York where their parents are mainly from the first, immigrant generation. The implications of these findings for sociological theory are explored in the conclusion. In general, the ideas of Herbert Gans on a form of "symbolic ethnicity" that develops among the children and grandchildren of immigrants prove to be the most useful in explaining the data on these one hundred Puerto Ricans in New York. ^

Subject Area

Ethnic studies|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

COLLERAN, KEVIN JOHN, "PUERTO RICANS IN NEW YORK CITY: THE BICULTURAL OPTION" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506321.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506321

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