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ERIC Number: ED141447
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Case of the Disappearing Ethnics.
Smith, M. Estellie
Beginning in the 1870's mill owners in Texton, a New England industrial town of approximately 100,000 people, recruited Portugese labor. From then until 1920 many Portugese emigrated to Texton. From 1920-1960 the immigration of Portugese into America slowed as the result of the declining labor market, the war, and restrictive laws. Following the Immigration Act of 1965, Portugese immigration took a dramatic jump upwards. This flood of unskilled, primarily rural Portugese to an area where unemployment was high, Texton, and where there was a tradition of hostility to Portugese speakers, exacerbated existing relations between the latter and other groups. By the early 1970's certain members of the community decided that some public steps would have to be taken to mend increasingly dysfunctional schisms. The mayor proclaimed Portugese Day, which featured a number of activities emphasizing the positive role which the target group had played. However, there were really two groups of Portugese-Americans. Those early arrivals who considered themselves and were considered by recent immigrants as Americans were distinct from recent immigrants who considered themselves and were categorized by earlier immigrants as Portugese. The disjuncture between old and new Portugese existed prior to Portugese Day. What had created the schism? At least three factors were at work: a competition for scarce resources; a higher level of expectations in the newly arrived group; and, a monetary base for corporateness among the latter which was not available to earlier arrivals. This case study demonstrates the great potential for dissonance which lies in those situations where the actors believe they have a code in common but do not; when they believe they have a nexus of common understanding which, in fact, does not exist. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A