Magical Urbanism

1.‘Magical Urbanism’ is the term that Mike Davis uses to describe the situation of the Latinos in urban America.  They have moved into the United States and immediately formed subgroups of their own within established cities, and yet unlike other minority ethnic groups their numbers are growing in size and they are developing the ability to seriously affect politics of not only their current country of residence but Mexico by way of California and New York.  Magical urbanism is the power of these minority groups to grow and become capable of such social influence while being comprised of poverty stricken citizens who as individuals have little influence over local or state affairs.

2.Immigrants tend to be poor because of the social factors that are inflicted on them at the time of arrival in their new country of residence.  Like in the case of Latinos in America, immigrants can find themselves without an established social support structure based on family and friends.  Networks like these are important to everyone, regardless of citizenship status.  You need a network of employer references, rental accommodation references, credit references, and failing all of those, close relatives and friends who can support you until you have achieved all of these things anew in a different nation.

3.Lack of Opportunity:  We are raised to believe that opportunity is everywhere around us; that all we need to do is reach out and grab it with both hands.  When it comes to immigrants, however, it isn’t so simple.  These people can come to the United States with very few resources from which to both identify and make use of the opportunities for success that are clear to those of us who have grown up here and understand the social system.  This factor can be identified as part of the ‘culture of poverty’, as it is inherent in virtually all immigrant groups everywhere.

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Institutional discrimination:  Established social systems can tend to work against immigrant groups.  In America there is a lot of employer legislation that requires university educated workers, American educated workers or a native grasp of English before anyone can be hired on.  Jobs that do not require these things will be the minimum wage occupations with very little room for growth or improvement.  Unless immigrants have the primary resources necessary to start a business or become educated after relocating, they will find themselves caught in the poverty trap.  This is purely a structural explanation of immigrant poverty, as Mike Davis explains it.

Reference

Davis, M (2001). Magical Urbanism: Latinos reinvent the US city. United States: Verso Press.

 

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