Irish Illegals: Transients between Two Societies

Irish Illegals: Transients between Two Societies

Irish Illegals: Transients between Two Societies

Irish Illegals: Transients between Two Societies

Synopsis

This is the first field study of the kind of lives that the most recent Irish immigrants have in New York City today. Working alongside new Irish illegals, Corcoran learned about their employment problems, their social relationships, and their communities and ties to Ireland. Teachers, and students, readers interested in issues of identity and ethnicity, immigration trends and problems, and the history of the Irish in the United States will enjoy this easy-to-read, first-hand account.

Excerpt

The field of ethnic studies focuses on the problems that arise when people with different cultures and goals come together and interact productively or unproductively. The modes of adjustment or conflict are various, but usually one group dominates or attempts to dominate the other. Eventually, some accommodation is reached: the process is likely to be long and, for the weaker group, painful. No one scholarly discipline monopolizes the research necessary to comprehend these intergroup relations. Consequently, the emerging analysis is inevitably of interest to historians, social scientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

This book is devoted to the very recent immigrants from Ireland to the United States as many of them settle, temporarily or more or less permanently, in two boroughs of New York City. "As an Irish person myself" with past experience as a waitress in a Manhattan restaurant and as a woman and hence "non-threatening," she was "perceived as an insider rather than an outsider, so that she could function as a participant observer in these Irish communities and could conduct in-depth interviews. Her advantages and her methods of collecting intimate data can be appreciated instantly: she brings us close to her informants whose views are quoted at length most naturally and appealingly. Also the author expresses herself in a similar straightforward manner as she reviews the general history of Irish emigration, relevant theories concerning Irish-Americans, and the legal restrictions these people are frequently able to circumvent. It is indeed delightful to gain both theoretical and practical insights unencumbered by the usual academic jargon and pontifications.

Their particular kinds of uniqueness make these Irish fascinating. Unlike most of their predecessors from Ireland, and unlike other ethnic groups who . . .

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