JosephChamieBirths, Deaths, Migrations, and Other Important Population Matters: A Collection of Short EssaysIndependently Published, 2021. 548 p. $19.99 (paper)

Landis MacKellar
2021 Population and Development Review  
Through a longitudinal ethnographic study of two Los Angeles neighborhoods and their young adult Latino residents, María Rendón systematically collected and analyzed compelling evidence to render an important argument for reframing social science perspectives about the social mechanisms shaping life trajectories of second-generation immigrants. Rendón's account revisits two arguments about the urban underclass and Mexican second-generation immigrant incorporation with refreshing new evidence
more » ... an experiences between 2007 and 2012. Consequently, Rendón refutes earlier arguments that were grounded in tropes related to a culture of poverty or downward assimilation through cultural identification with the underclass. Rendón also refutes arguments about immigrant work ethics and upward assimilation of second-generation children. Neither of these outcomes result among the young men in her study and in the context of Los Angeles neighborhoods during this time period. Rendón sets the stage by arguing for the case selection as representing two puzzles and worthy of investigation. Namely, residents of two of the poorest, most segregated, violent, and least resourced and institutionally enriched neighborhoods in Los Angeles, should only produce underclass outcomes for young adults, according to many urban sociologists. Furthermore, many immigration scholars have consistently argued that Mexican immigrant children, the 1.5-or second-generation immigrants, are more likely to downwardly assimilate and have among the poorest outcomes compared to other immigrant groups. Rendón suggests that contrary to these generalized patterns from earlier decades of research, the young men in her study do not end up in the urban underclass, on the whole. Instead, they mostly remain, much like their parents, in the working class. The first puzzle is, therefore, why do they not do as poorly as might be expected based on theory and earlier evidence? The second puzzle is, when they do go onto college and have substantial social support from family, why do they not do better? In both cases, most of the young men in her study experience neither downward assimilation nor upwardly assimilation. They are stuck where their parents landed upon their arrival to the United States. Stagnant Dreamers is divided in two parts. The first part examines the two urban contexts of the fictitiously named and selected neighborhoods-Pueblo Viejo and Central City. The descriptions show how both neighborhoods represent places of overwhelming poverty and neglect, as well as hypersegregation. These two places are meant to be contexts described in most urban sociology texts as places of the truly disadvantaged. The two places are also meant to be placed in comparison. While both neighborhoods have high numbers of Latinx residents, Pueblo Viejo is overwhelming Latinx and mostly Mexican and Chicano. Central City is mostly P O P U L AT I O N A N D D E V E L O P M E N T R E V I E W 4 7 ( 1 ) : 2 6 1 -2 7 7 ( M A R C H 2 0 2 1 ) 261
doi:10.1111/padr.12396 fatcat:ry3fumbrtjdpzmo4x4msyaoloi