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Second-Generation Asian American Pan-Ethnic Identity: Pluralized Meanings of a Racial Label

Jerry Z. Park
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 51, No. 3 (August 2008), pp. 541-561
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/sop.2008.51.3.541
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sop.2008.51.3.541
Page Count: 22
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Second-Generation Asian American Pan-Ethnic Identity: Pluralized Meanings of a Racial Label
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Abstract

Recent research on the collective identity label described as Asian American, which was originally formulated as a political movement symbol, shows only some support among the various Asian ethnic groups that reside in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Based on a sample of second-generation Asian American student leaders in four public universities, this study provides empirical evidence that the definition of the term Asian American has multiplied as a result of major demographic and cultural factors that have affected the Asian population. These definitions reflect ethnic and religious diversification as well as the model minority stereotype and a cohort identity for the second-generation experience. At the same time, this diversification of definitions is also influenced by two concurrent and interlacing cultural discourses, one that emphasizes the racialized otherness of being "Asian American" and another that emphasizes the cultural diversity within this racial label. Implications for future research and theoretical development follow.

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