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Barrios to BurbsThe Making of the Mexican American Middle Class$
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Jody Vallejo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781398

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781398.001.0001

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Family Obligations: the Immigrant Narrative and Middle-class Individualism

Family Obligations: the Immigrant Narrative and Middle-class Individualism

(p.70) 4. Family Obligations: the Immigrant Narrative and Middle-class Individualism
Barrios to Burbs

Jennifer Lee

Stanford University Press

Despite their apparent homogeneity as an ethnic group and exhibiting the traditional indicators of middle-class status, Mexican Americans who belong to the middle class have different socioeconomic backgrounds. Some grow up in impoverished households and low-income ethnic communities and are the first in their families to attain middle-class status, while others grow up in well-off households and white middle-class neighborhoods. According to contemporary theories of incorporation, Mexican Americans will follow a path of linear assimilation into the white middle class in which they will sever ties with coethnics and the ethnic community once they achieve upward mobility. This chapter explores whether middle-class Mexican Americans sever ties with their poorer kin or remain connected to them, and whether they provide financial and social support as a way of giving back and retaining salient family obligations.

Keywords:   Mexican Americans, middle class, giving back, family obligations, incorporation, assimilation, coethnics, social support, financial support, socioeconomic backgrounds

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