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Changing Perceptions of Space and Place as Measures of Hmong Acculturation

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Immigrant and refugee acculturation has both behavioral and spatial manifestations. The purpose of this study is to examine the spatial acculturation process of Hmong refugees in California's San Joaquin Valley in order to understand changing perceptions of the concepts and uses of space and place. Through in-depth interviews and participant observation among 120 Hmong university students and their families, the process of change in settlement and use of space is traced from traditional cultural practices in Laos through the refugee camp experience to the first and 1.5 generation enclaves. Each generation has recreated and adapted the immediately preceding socialization experience such that settlement patterns and the use of space by the 1.5 generation only minimally resemble traditional culture, yet maintain its underlying cultural values.

Keywords: Hmong; refugees; spatial acculturation; spatial assimilation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Hunter College – CUNY

Publication date: May 1, 1997

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