Ethnic community formation: An ecological perspective on Iranians in Los Angeles.
AuthorModarres, S. Ali.
KeywordsIranians -- California -- Los Angeles County
Iranians -- California -- Orange County
Immigrants -- United States
Ethnic neighborhoods -- United States
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEthnicity is a social construct defined not only by socio-cultural variables, but also by the socioeconomic and social structure within which it develops. In this regard, ethnicity is a by-product, and at the same time a contributor to the spatial structure of human communities. The synergistic relationship between ethnicity and socioeconomic variables requires attention to the special environment within which an ethnic community develops, and furthermore, necessitates an awareness of the subgroups of any given ethnic group and their specific spatial and adaptational behavior. Consequently, the superorganic approach taken by most urban/human ecologists and the collective treatment of assimilation studies is questionable. The Iranian community currently residing in the U.S. illustrates that the spatial distribution of post-1965 immigrants and specifically political immigrants is defined by both ethnicity and also socioeconomic factors. The elite characteristics of these groups, including their high educational achievements, occupational status, and self-employment levels, distinguishes them from many of the other ethnic/immigrant groups who migrated in the early part of the century. Additionally, in the case of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, it is demonstrated that Iranians, along with Russians are distinctive based on their high socioeconomic status. The available data indicates the existence of three types of ethnic groups: (a) traditional low socioeconomic groups; (b) elite immigrants with high socioeconomic and educational achievements; and (c) recent immigrants with high educational and medium to high socioeconomic status. Spatially, differences among and within ethnic groups create specific distribution patterns that are explained largely by socioeconomic and ethnicity factors combined. This research illustrates that in studying any ethnic group, two criteria must be considered: (a) socioeconomic and ethnicity factors have a combined effect that differs not only from one group to another, but also varies within each group; and (b) social structure is not an independent variable, and therefore should be identified and analyzed on a case-by-case approach.