Raised in the USA: An Exploratory Study of
Latino Identity in California

by Paul Spoonley and Beatriz Manz
with Harold Eberhart and Maribel Lopez

Working Papers WP 15-03
March 2015
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

Full text: pdf

The ethnic and representational politics of the USA are being challenged and transformed by the size of the Latino population. But Latino identities are varied and reflect a range of historical and contemporary influences. The focus of this pilot study are a group of American-raised university students in California and how they see themselves in terms of self-claimed labels and identities – and the influences and implications of these identities. Is the country origin of immigrant parents an ongoing determinant of self and group identity? Or are new pan-ethnic identities more important? What has been transmitted and maintained by these American-raised in terms of, for example, Spanish language or morality? This report explores these and other issues as new generations of Latinos explore and negotiate identity in an American setting.

Keywords: Latino identity, American-raised Latinos, cultural/language transmission, transnationalism.        

Paul Spoonley is a Distinguished Professor (Sociology) and the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and was awarded the Science and Technology Medal in 2009 for contributing to academic scholarship on cultural diversity. He is the Programme Leader of the Integration of Immigrants Programme and Nga Tangata Oho Mairangi and a Principal Investigator on Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa/New Zealand (CaDDANZ); all are funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley in 2010 and a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in 2013. He can be contacted at p.spoonley(at)massey.ac.nz.

Beatriz Manz is a Professor of Geography and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is originally from Chile and her research has focused on contemporary Mayan communities in Guatemala. She has served as Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies and also Chair of the Center for Latin  American Studies at Berkeley. Her most recent book is entitled: “Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope”. In April 2013, she was called by the prosecution to testify as an expert eyewitness in the genocide trial against General Efraín Ríos Montt. She can be contacted at bmanz(at)berkeley.edu.

Harold Eberhart and Maribel Lopez were students of Beatriz Manz at the University of California, Berkeley and were involved as researchers in the current study.