Contemporary African migrants in the USA: cultural adaptations in megacities and towns compared
Veronica Usacheva (Russian Academy of Science)
Paper short abstract:
The paper examines the African migrants' experience in the megacities of the Northeast and Midwest and compares it with case study results of a small community of migrants in the southern state of Alabama. Paper presents the results of the research project supported by RFH, grant # 14-01-00070.
Paper long abstract:
International migration has become a permanent feature of the African landscape as thousands of Africans look beyond their continent to improve their standards of living. From 1980 to 2012, the African-born population in United States grew from just under 200,000 to 1.6 million. One of the recent trends in African migration to the USA: settling not only in megacities but also in small cities and towns. The paper presents the results of the field studies which were done in the USA in September-November 2013, August 2014 and September-October 2015, in seven states (Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York and Pennsylvania); in a number of towns as well as in the cities. The research is based on interviews, questionnaires and observations (participant whenever possible). The research project examines the situation not only in the more historically progressive, cosmopolitan and tolerant cities of the Northeast and Midwest, but also in towns in the outback in the south of the country, known for its conservatism and traditionalism. A case study of a small community was conducted in the southern state of Alabama - an Ethiopian Orthodox community whose members hail from different parts of the neighboring Marshall and Madison Counties for religious services and other events in the building of the Greek Orthodox Church in Huntsville. The paper analyzes the complex relationships among African migrants and host society; vulnerabilities, struggles, threats (internal or external to the immigrant community), possibilities for cultural adaptation of migrants in various social landscapes.
Migrants in the provinces: the adaptive potential of the province compared to the megapolis