SOCI-132-01 Immigrants and New Societies
Fall for 2016-2017
As one of the principal catalysts of social change in contemporary societies, immigration constitutes a uniquely fertile area of sociological inquiry. The study of immigration is especially relevant in the United States, given the country’s long history and origin as a destination for newcomers and the important role that immigrants currently play in U.S. society. Today, over 13 percent of U.S. residents (41.3 million) was born outside of the country. Of this foreign-born population, nearly 40 percent entered into the United States in 2000 or after.
Governments contend with immigration in various ways and the politics of immigration policy is a highly contested arena. Policies on migration range from highly restrictive to broadly permissive. While national governments set their own rules that broadly define who is allowed to enter and reside in the country, state and local level policies also regulate numerous aspects of immigrants’ lives in the host country.
Where migratory movements are permitted, immigrants contribute to the ethnic and cultural diversity in host societies in a number of ways. Immigrants add to the transformation of demographic, economic, political, and social structures, bringing with them traditions, practices, and sets of beliefs from their home countries. They also relate with native populations in various ways.
This course will provide a sociological understanding of the processes by which non-nationals move into and settle in a new country. In particular, we will examine some of the major questions that guide sociological analysis of migration. Some of the questions that this course will address are as follows: Why do people migrate? Are they allowed to migrate? How do immigration policies influence flows of migration? To what extent do newcomers become part of the mainstream society? What kind of networks do they create? What impact do they have on the receiving country? How do they relate to the native population? Do they engage in the public sphere as political subjects?
Immigration is a fascinating yet multi-faceted subject. Students will be introduced to various sociological approaches, as well as strategies for investigating questions around immigration. In addition, students will be exposed to contemporary issues of salient relevance from a public policy perspective. Some of the topics to be explored include social-cultural assimilation, political incorporation, and economic integration.
In addition to mastering the materials covered in class, students will be expected to apply the concepts and perspectives acquired throughout the course to the analysis of specific aspects of contemporary immigration. As a way of achieving this goal, some of the assignments in the course will be devoted to the application of concepts and tools advanced within the different sociological traditions in the understanding of concrete issues.
The course will primarily focus on the U.S., although we will also examine examples from other countries.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '16: Cantor G (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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