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Receptivity’s Construction in Public Schools: a Component of Immigrant Integration in an Emerging Gateway

Abstract

Community receptivity, a critical component in integration processes, is a place’s collective response to newcomers. It is a constructed context in which the experiences of settlement and adjustment for both immigrants and non-immigrants occur. Receptivity is fluid, shaped by multi-scalar components of a community’s political, economic, social, and cultural spheres. In traditional gateways, the evolving interplay of long-established forces guides receptivity. But in new gateways, front line providers that encounter the initial settlement needs of immigrants are the vanguard of constructing the broader community’s warmth of immigrant welcome. This case study of three elementary schools in Charlotte, NC demonstrates the role of public schools as a site of receptivity’s early construction within an emerging gateway. We argue that teachers are creating receptivity building blocks within their classrooms, guiding the construction of receptivity within their schools, among the school board, the school district, and the city as a whole.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the individuals in Charlotte, NC who participated in this study and the anonymous reviewers for their feedback.

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Correspondence to Paul N. McDaniel.

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McDaniel, P.N., Smith, H.A. Receptivity’s Construction in Public Schools: a Component of Immigrant Integration in an Emerging Gateway. Int. Migration & Integration 18, 1061–1081 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-017-0522-4

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Keywords

  • Immigration
  • Community receptivity
  • New immigrant gateways
  • Public schools