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Social Dynamics in Response to Shifting Immigration Policy and Practice: Latino Social Networks, Resource Flow, and Household Reorganization

HSD #0827025, 2008-2010, Funded by the National Science Foundation

As a large scale agent of change, shifts in policy and perceptions concerning immigrants ripple through social networks, affecting household arrangements and resources that impact not only individuals, but families and whole communities. These impacts are felt by immigrants, naturalized citizens and natives who share the same communities, households and families. Recent research suggests that social networks among the urban poor can be eroded by macro-level economic and political uncertainty and instability, but comparatively little is known about how this process unfolds. Clear scientific evidence demonstrating how people are affected by such policy shifts can provide evidence for developing immigration-related policy and practice with fewer negative unintended consequences. With backgrounds in sociology, anthropology, human biology, geography and demography, the project team is studying Latino households in south Phoenix, Arizona. Using a range of tools and methods, including social network analysis and mathematical modeling, the analyses address if and how the households have reorganized in response to changing immigration policy and practice. The study examines the social networks that link household members to each other and larger networks, and modesl the implications of this for the resource flows to household members and ultimately for household resiliency and the well-being of family members. By focusing on the mechanism of social networks—as the framework in which decisions concerning resource flows are made, played out, and constrained—the study empirically ties well-being of household members to social policy shifts outside the household in new and more explicit ways. Research findings, such as determining which factors enhance household stability and how social networks can be leveraged to move limited resources where they are most needed, will be shared with local stakeholders to support their goals of building healthy communities.

CePoD Involvement: Jennifer Glick (Principal Investigator), Alexandra Brewis Slade (Co-Investigator) and Seline Szkupinski Quiroga (Co-Investigator)

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T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
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