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How Neighbourhoods Matter for Immigrant Children: The Formation of Educational Resources in Chinatown, Koreatown and Pico Union, Los Angeles

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This study examines the specific ways in which local institutions in inner-city neighbourhoods affect the formation of educational resources for immigrant children. Local institutions here refer to observable neighbourhood-based formal and informal organisations. Based on an ethnographic study of three Los Angeles immigrant neighbourhoods—Chinatown, Koreatown and Pico Union (Mexican/Central American neighbourhood)—I address two main questions. What types of institution exist at the local level, and how does ethnicity shape them? How do local institutions interact with one another to create tangible and intangible resources conducive to education, and how does ethnicity affect access to these resources? My findings suggest that the social structures of immigrant neighbourhoods vary due to group-specific modes of incorporation, immigration histories and the host society's reception; that community organising at the local level centres around certain common parameters in which co-ethnicity is a crucial component; and that neighbourhood-based educational resources are available but the access is unequal and ethnically exclusive.

Keywords: Central American; Chinatown; Education; Koreatown; Mexican; Urban Neighbourhoods

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2009

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