New Article: Multiculturalism as the Normative Context of Immigrant Reception

Pleased to announce the publication of my article,

Multiculturalism as the Normative Context of Immigrant Reception: Somali Immigrant Inclusion in Lewiston, Maine

available here


Drawing on data gathered through ethnographic fieldwork, I examine the process of normative incorporation as it occurs through the establishment of group recognition and representation among a new immigrant group settling in a new immigrant destination. I argue that Somali immigrant incorporation in the small, white American, new destination city of Lewiston, Maine was characterised by (1) the recognition of and partnership with Somali organisations and individuals who might represent the Somali community; (2) tensions between the assumed homogeneity of the Somali community and the reality of limited group cohesiveness; and (3) declining concerns about the authentic leadership position of representative organisations and increasing interest in working with an organisation that embodied the ideals of multiculturalism. I show that these organisational struggles shaped the development of a public, secular Somaliness that fit the parameters of the mainstream and undercut attention to practical challenges of Somali immigrant incorporation. My observations provide insight into the multicultural context of immigrant reception in other locations and among other immigrant groups.

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