Newswise — University of Illinois at Chicago sociologists have received a $420,000 National Science Foundation grant to study how local communities respond to the issue of immigration.
The researchers will study individual attitudes and political outcomes related to immigration in four Chicago suburban communities selected based on their growth in the Latino population.
"We're interested in addressing how some communities come to be fairly welcoming to immigrants, how some communities build institutional barriers against immigrants, and how some take it as it comes," said Pamela Popielarz, associate professor of sociology and one of the study's principal investigators.
The project will include a telephone survey, interviews with political leaders and local voluntary association and organization members, and a study of archival materials, such as city council documents and local newspaper articles.
"Being able to talk about what is going on in communities, and talk about what's working and what's not working, and how people are or are not engaged in their communities can be a useful example to other places that are experiencing a growth in their immigrant populations," said Maria Krysan, associate professor of sociology, who is another principal investigator.
By studying the four towns, the researchers believe they will place the research where political action related to immigration is often taking place and where inter-group relations between immigrants and non-immigrants are experienced directly.
The project is part of the Chicago Area Study, an annual UIC-based training and policy research initiative that examines various social and cultural issues impacting residents in the Chicago metropolitan area. Graduate and undergraduate students in the program team with faculty investigators on research projects related to issues of race and ethnicity.
"Because of the NSF support, we're able to expand the scope of the project and, as a result, more graduate and undergraduate students will be able to participate in the training," said Krysan. "It's creating an amazing training opportunity for students in the social sciences at UIC."
Other principal investigators for the study are Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, associate professor of sociology and Latin American and Latino studies, and Andy Clarno, visiting assistant professor of sociology. Contributing researchers are Xóchitl Bada, assistant professor of Latin American and Latino studies, and Amalia Pallares, associate professor of political science and Latin American and Latino studies.
The grant was awarded under the federal government's economic stimulus plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
UIC ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago's largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.
For more information about UIC, please visit www.uic.edu.
Source: University of Illinois at Chicago