Identity and the Second Generation: How Children of Immigrants Find Their Space

Andrea Flores
Year of publication
Journal of Anthropological Research
Faith G. Nibbs and Caroline B. Brettell, eds. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press

In Identity and the Second Generation, the contributors examine how the children of immigrants negotiate their identities and sense of belonging in a variety of social, institutional, and transnational contexts. Moving beyond the dichotomy of assimilation or resistance, the chapters illustrate how immigrant descendants forge hybrid identities across “barriers and/or bridges to belonging” (p. 4). Expertly edited by Nibbs and Brettell, the book is notable for the geographic diversity of its cases, its cross-generational focus within families, and its attention to the multiple “spaces of experience” that shape immigrant descendants and are shaped by them (p. 4).

The volume begins with Nibbs and Brettell’s concise and clear review of the identity literature on children of immigrants and a broad definition of space as the volume’s organizing principle. The looseness of the space concept as physical sites and “fields of interaction” allows analytical flexibility, though some may wish for an expanded discussion of space as a theoretical construct (p. 2). Lamphere’s afterword underscores the volume’s common themes, including the centrality of social media to contemporary identity formation. She also calls for additional investigation on the roles of gender and social class. The nine substantive (or “core”) chapters each tackle a distinct facet of descendants’ lives and, to a greater or lesser extent, their transnational dimensions.

Suggested Citation

Flores, A. (2017). Identity and the Second Generation: How Children of Immigrants Find Their Space. Journal of Anthropological Research, 73(1), 140-142