Being young, female and Laotian: Ethnicity as social capital at the intersection of gender, generation, ‘race’ and age
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30, (1), . (doi:10.1080/01419870601006520).
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Scholarship on the children of post-1965 immigrants to the USA posits that the ways in which this new second generation relates to family and the co-ethnic community has important effects on their educational achievement and socio-economic mobility. These linkages have been explained through the concept of ethnicity as social capital. Utilizing qualitative data on second generation Laotian girls participating in an ethnic specific youth project focused on social justice issues, this article evaluates this conceptualization of social capital from a critical feminist perspective. I argue that a singular focus on ethnic social relations occludes the complex life experiences of the children of immigrants. I examine the ways in which gender and generational power relations within ethnic communities, extra-familial social influence, the impact of social contexts and structural constraints, and the role of youth as generators of social capital complicates the role of ethnicity as social capital in adaptation outcomes.
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