Dissertation > Culture, science,education, sports > Cultural Theory > The relationship between culture and other subjects

Segmented Assimilation Analysis of Chinese Immigrants in America

Author LiuJiHong
Tutor JinQiJun
School Northeastern University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Chinese Americans Segmented assimilation Selective acculturation
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Works of American academic circle on contemporary immigrants all recognize such a fact that Asian immigrants group is increasing most quickly comparing with other immigration groups. Except European immigrants, the group of Chinese American came to America at the earliest time and is the largest group among Asian immigration groups. The history of their immigration and settlement in America can be traced back to1940s’and even much earlier. With the original economic lure and the vicissitude of American immigration history, immigration of Chinese people into America experienced a long process with twists and turns.Immigration is not only moving from one country to another, because with the moving comes the re-accept and re-adjustment of new culture and values of a new country. During the immigrating, the degree of re-accept and re-adjustment of the new country plays a key role in affecting immigrants’living condition in the new country and in deciding whether immigrants can assimilate into the American mainstream society. This thesis aims at probing into what is the most ideal way for Chinese immigrants to assimilate into American mainstream society. On this study point, professor of University of Los Anglos California, Min Zhou adopts and develops the latest "segmented assimilation theory". This theory emphasizes3aspects:firstly, the assimilation into the American society of an immigrants group doesn’t mean the uplift of their social position. Professor Zhou described that the state of social position is decided by the "layer" of the American society structure into which they assimilate; secondly, the reason that immigrants successfully assimilated themselves into the American middle and upper social class is not only determined by immigrants’ personal human capital and economic resources but also social capital which is embodied by the ethnic cohesion and supportive forces; thirdly, the abandon of home language and culture is absolutely not the panacea to enhance the social status of immigrants and that of their children, which would backfire in no doubt to deepen the gap between eastern and western culture and intergenerational relationship. Professor Zhou advocates "selective assimilation" that refers to a good way in which parents and children both learn English and American culture and at the same time consciously maintain and hold their mother tongue and culture tradition."Segmented assimilation theory" spreads itself along with different layers of American society: upward mobility-assimilation into the upper class of American society; downward mobility-acculturation into American underclass society; selective acculturation-assimilation into American mainstream society with maintenance of culture and tradition of motherland. This thesis analyses reasons of the existence of segmented assimilation from history background, cultural background and economic situation and gives consequences led to by the two kinds of extreme assimilation ways, then suggests the outcomes resulted from the harmonious kind of assimilation.By analytical mode, this thesis contains five parts:chapter one introduces the aim and significance of the study; chapter two describes segmented assimilation theory in detail; chapter three analyses the reason of segmented assimilation; chapter four listed the consequences of unreasonable acculturation and then goes to the outcomes of harmonious assimilation; chapter five is the conclusion part which suggests immigrants apply rational acculturation into American culture.

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