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This Is My Home, Too: The Emerging Reactive Ethnicity and Sense of Place of 1.5‐ and Second-Generation Latinxs in Tennessee

Authors: James Chaney*, Middle Tennessee State University
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Immigration/Transnationalism, Ethnic Geography
Keywords: Latinx, Reactive Ethnicity, Sense of Place, 1.5 and Second Generation
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This study investigates the perceptions and experiences of 1.5- and second-generation Latinxs in the new immigrant destination of Nashville, Tennessee, with regard to the concepts of belonging, identity, and sense of place. Although much research has examined the arrival, integration, and socioeconomic challenges of Nashville’s first-generation immigrants from Latin America, themes concerning the experiences and incorporation of Latinxs who have grown up Tennessee have received less scholarly attention. The multitude of issues that arise from identity negotiation, biculturalism, and discrimination are elucidated through twenty in-depth interviews with Latinxs. A shift towards developing a reactive ethnicity is evident as Latinxs discuss how perceived interpersonal discrimination coupled with recent national (and local) divisive, anti-immigrant policies affect one’s sense of place and encourage ethnic group solidarity. These feelings of social inclusion/exclusion and marginalization by national and state politics influence individual life choices and spur participation in social activism. Such reactions potentially have long-term sociopolitical ramifications for the local mainstream society.

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