The Spanish-Americans of New Mexico: A Heritage of Pride

By Nancie L. González | Go to book overview
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Chapter V
VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS

With the growth and dispersal of the Spanish-speaking population within the United States and with their increasing participation in the industrial-based society of this country, they are apparently turning more and more to the large, non-kinship kinds of institutions for mutual aid and community action, which may be grouped under the term "voluntary associations." Clubs and organizations of various sorts provide a means by which individuals may achieve the sense of belonging to an in-group in an otherwise cold and impersonal world. From a functional point of view, organizations may also operate as pressure or action groups within a national or local community to bring about culture change through legislation or other socially approved means. By definition, voluntary associations are joined because one has a personal interest in the activities, aims, goals, or symbols of the club. Also, some such clubs limit their membership to those acceptable to the group as a whole--again common background and interest dictate the rules of recruitment.

Many students of Hispanic-derived culture patterns in the United States have commented that voluntary associations are few and that the Spanish-speaking as a group are not charac

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