The National Science Foundation has awarded Northeastern Illinois University a three-year, $149,934 grant to fund Associate Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies Victor Ortiz’s comparative research into the nature and magnitude of social cohesion of Latino and non-Latino residents of the Chicago suburb of Yorkville.
The project seeks to answer three primary questions:
- What social dynamics relate to the transition regarding social cohesiveness, racial categories, and spatial reconfigurations?
- How are these dynamics lived and perceived by people in their everyday lives?
- What type of analytical categories, concepts, and approaches are best fitted to conceptualize ongoing transformations?
“By focusing on a solid middle-class context, my ethnographic aim is to explore social interactions across and within ethnic demarcations in light of class and socialization commonalities between Latinos and non-Latinos,” Ortiz said. “Most Latinos in Yorkville have income levels higher than state average and three-fourths of them are U.S.-born, calling into question their generalization as poor and alien. At the same time, the levels of social interaction in this city reflect the characteristic low levels of suburban and, increasingly, urban neighborhoods. I want to find out: How do residential and socialization commonalities play out in an environment of apparent little contact not only across racial and ethnic lines but for all residents?”
The study will use surveys, interviews and field observations to draw its conclusions.