Social Inequality of Immigrants in Old Age: Exploring Multiple Dimensions of Social Network and Resource Flow during the Great Recession

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Haruna FUKUI , T.Denny School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, AZ
This is a qualitative research project whose data comes from 10-month ethnographic field work at two senior centers in Phoenix, Arizona that respectively consist of either predominantly Asian or Latino and that the majority of the ethnic minority seniors are of foreign born. The project examines the access to social support and flow of resources among the older foreign-born population relative to their ties to the community as well as to their family. The primary goal of this study is to understand how the current sociopolitical context in Arizona affects the lives of old immigrants and might channel different ways of involvement in their social networks which are shaped by their living arrangements, relationships with younger generations in family/household, participation in community activities and in the labor market, and access to social welfare and services. The project tries to capture various ways in which immigrants in old age navigate their everyday lives when faced with economic and physiological obstacles as well as opportunities, and by doing so, it seeks to understand how they not only access and utilize but also contribute to the pool of resources. The secondary goal is to understand the life course impacts of quality and quantity of social and economic resources that are available to immigrants—individually as well as collectively as ethnic community. The project examines the factors that encourage the expansion of social networks and reciprocity throughout a life course as they impact well-being in old age. It also explores how individual experiences may cumulatively contribute to well-being of the members who share the social networks. With these goals in mind, the project seeks to investigate probable factors that are associated with persistence of social inequality in old age at community level which may be further impacted by the sociopolitical context of Arizona.