Examining the political, economic and social incorporation of Somali Americans in Minnesota's Twin Cities and in Columbus, Ohio
Somalis in the Twin Cities and Columbus
Immigrant Incorporation in New Destinations
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In the early 1990s, Somali refugees arrived in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Later in the decade, an additional influx of immigrants arrived in a second destination of Columbus, Ohio. These refugees found low-skill jobs in warehouses and food processing plants and struggled as social "outsiders," often facing discrimination based on their religious traditions, dress, and misconceptions that they are terrorists. The immigrant youth also lacked access to quality educational opportunities.
In Somalis in the Twin Cities and Columbus, Stefanie Chambers provides a cogent analysis of these refugees in Midwestern cities where new immigrant communities are growing. Her comparative study uses qualitative and quantitative data to assess the political, economic, and social variations between these urban areas. Chambers examines how culture and history influenced the incorporation of Somali immigrants in the U.S., and recommends policy changes that can advance rather than impede incorporation.
"Chambers's interviews provide insight into the lives of members of the Somali community before and after their arrival in the United States. Her groundbreaking research into the struggles of one community of color to integrate into our society deepens our knowledge of justice and democracy. Somalis in the Twin Cities and Columbus adds to the growing scholarship employing interpretive methods to expand the boundaries of traditional political and social science. This exceptionally rich study will not only make a significant contribution to a number of literatures but also serve as a strong baseline for future analyses of Somali communities."
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Stefanie Chambers is Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Political Science at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She is the author of Mayors and Schools: Minority Voices and Democratic Tensions in Urban Education (Temple).