Studies in the History of Overseas Migrations
Edited By Agnieszka Malek and Dorota Praszalowicz
Anna Sosnowska: Different. Polish and Post-Soviet Jewish Immigrants in New York City
Different. Polish and Post-Soviet Jewish Immigrants in New York City Anna Sosnowska (University of Warsaw) This paper argues that Polish immigrants’ and post-Soviet Jewish immigrants’, the two largest post-communist immigrant groups, position on the New York City job market is very different and quite closely, although not entirely, corre- spond, respectively, with the Alba and Nee’s (2005) concepts of immigrant- laborer and high cultural capital immigrant-professional. I argue that the effect of the common post-communist legacy is weak. The traditional difference in cultural capital between Polish and Jewish immigrants during the great wave of immigration to the industrial United States at the turn of the 19th and 20th cen- tury has been reinforced in the late 20th century by the difference in legal status, and position of ethnic groups that were formed by the descendants of immi- grants 100 year ago. My argument refers to several sources of evidence: the U.S. census statistics, the existing qualitative research on post-Soviet Jewish community in New York City and my own research including interviews with the Polish immigrant community leaders in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the largest Polish neighborhood in the city. Jews have had a long tradition of immigration in New York City (Diner 2006). The mass inflow of Eastern European Jews at the turn of the 19th and 20th century changed not only the Jewish American community but also the city it- self. Seven out of 10 Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe chose the city as a place of settlement so that by...
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