Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America

Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America

Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America

Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America

Synopsis

Hispanics/Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the United States- but they are far from being a homogenous group. Mexican Americans in the Southwest have roots that extend back four centuries, while Dominicans and Salvadorans are very recent immigrants. Cuban Americans in South Florida have very different occupational achievements, employment levels, and income from immigrant Guatemalans who work in the poultry industry in Virginia. In fact, the only characteristic shared by all Hispanics/Latinos in the United States is birth or ancestry in a Spanish-speaking country. In this book, sixteen geographers and two sociologists map the regional and cultural diversity of the Hispanic/Latino population of the United States. They report on Hispanic communities in all sections of the country, showing how factors such as people' country/culture of origin, length of time in the United States, and relations with non-Hispanic society have interacted to create a wide variety of Hispanic communities. Identifying larger trends, they also discuss the common characteristics of three types of Hispanic communities- those that have always been predominantly Hispanic, those that have become Anglo-dominated, and those in which Hispanics are just becoming a significant portion of the population.

Excerpt

Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places explores the regional cultural geography of Americans of Hispanic/Latino ancestry as defined by the U.S. Census. In its broadest scope, the book is a scholarly assessment of ethnic-group diversity examined across geographic scales from nation to region to place. The organization and themes of Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places areinnovativein three ways.

First, Hispanic/Latino Americans represent the fourth-largest concentration of Spanish-heritage people in the world, after Mexicans, Colombians, and Spaniards. A popular yet erroneous conception holds that Hispanic/Latino Americans are a homogeneous group. The members of this large population—reported in 2003 to be some thirty-nine million, 13 percent of the U.S. population—tend to identify themselves by national ancestry, although the labels “Hispanic” and “Latino” remain current in government circles and in the media. In fact, Hispanic/Latino Americans are not one group, but many. They are not simply Hispanics or Latinos, as these panethnic names suggest, but Mexicans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Cubans, Ecuadorians, Bolivians, Hispanos (Spanish Americans), and others. In this book, diversity will be fundamental to the exploration of Hispanic/Latino Americans.

Further, some continue to imagine that Hispanic/Latino Americans are found only in the Southwest or in New York or Miami. While regional concentrations exist, Hispanic/Latino Americans are now spread across the nation. Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places breaks ground in its treatment of regional populations by evaluating the plurality of Hispanics/Latinos across America, their different geographies and social adjustments to diverse places from small and medium-sized towns to metropolitan areas. No other single book treats Hispanic/Latino Americans in this way.

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