Irene Bloemraad (Ph.D. Harvard; M.A. McGill) is Associate Professor of Sociology and the Thomas Garden Barnes Chair of Canadian Studies at Berkeley. She is also a Scholar with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and will serve in 2014-15 as a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences committee reporting on the integration of immigrants into American society.
I study how immigrants become incorporated into political bodies and the consequences of their presence on politics and understandings of membership. My research stands at the intersection of immigration studies and political sociology, with a strong interdisciplinary (and international) scope.
It falls into four broad areas:
(1) Citizenship & Multiculturalism – How do immigrants’ gain formal political membership? My book, Becoming a Citizen, compares immigrants’ acquisition of citizenship and political participation in the United States and Canada. I show how settlement assistance and an official policy of multiculturalism facilitate immigrant political incorporation more in Canada than in the United States. In the context of current U.S. immigration debates, my work suggests that immigration policy must focus not just on border control and entry, but also on integration and settlement policies. For a video profile of some of this research, see here.
(2) Immigrant Community Organizations – What role do community organizations play in facilitating immigrants’ political and civic visibility and influence? Working with Karthick Ramakrishnan (UCR) and Shannon Gleeson (UCSC), with generous support from the Russell Sage Foundation, we develop the idea of civic stratification in Civic Hopes and Political Realities, documenting how immigrants face civic inequality and invisibility in many spheres of politics. Additional articles in the American Journal Sociology and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly can be found below.
(3) Political Socialization in Mixed-Status Families – What effect does parents’ legal status have on US-born children’s civic and political incorporation? For this project, also funded by Russell Sage, my research team interviewed almost 200 Mexican-, Vietnamese- and Chinese-origin youth and their immigrant parents living in the Bay Area. Early results published in American Behavioral Scientist argue that political socialization, traditionally viewed as a parent-child dynamic, can also occur from children to parents. More recently, in Studies in Law, Society and Politics, I examine the importance of US birth for one's sense of membership and I draw out implications for political debates challenging 14th Amendment birthright citizenship.
(4) Diversity & Democracy – What are the implications of a more diverse population for democracy, civic life and public policies? In an article with Christel Kesler in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, we find that national institutions and policy environments mediate the relationship between diversity and social trust, civic engagement and political participation; diversity could enhance -- rather than depress -- civic activism in the right policy context. In Perspectives on Politics, Matthew Wright and I show that despite politicians' backlash against multiculturalism, immigrants in countries with more diversity policies show similar or higher political trust, engagement and attachment than those living in countries with more assimilatory policies. Multiculturalism might be good for democracy.
I also have interests in national identity, social movements and immigration legislation. My colleague Kim Voss and I published an edited volume on the massive immigration rights protests of 2006, Rallying for Immigrant Rights. I also write on comparative research methods, which flows in part from my undergraduate and graduate teaching of research methods.
Teaching - Excellence in research and teaching should go hand-in-hand. In 2013, I was award the American Cultures Innovation in Teaching prize, in 2012, I was honored with the campus’s Distinguished Teaching Award in Social Sciences, and in 2008 I received the Sarlo Distinguished Mentoring Award for my work with graduate students. Beyond traditional undergraduate and graduate classes on immigration and research methods, I've also developed community service classes through the American Cultures Engaged Scholarship program. These combine academic learning with community internships in nonprofit organizations such the East Oakland Youth Development Center and Centro Legal de la Raza. Some of this work with EOYDC is highlighted here.
Beyond academia - My interest in immigration comes from personal experience: I was born in Europe, moved to Canada as a young girl, and migrated to the United States in my early 20s. But it is also a vital issue to the state -- more than one in four Californians was born outside the United States -- and to many countries in the world. Over the last decade, I have worked hard to both broaden and deepen immigration studies at Berkeley. (See the Berkeley NewsCenter article on some of these efforts, and students doing work in this area, here.) I have developed immigration seminars at the graduate and undergraduate levels and I run an informal immigration workshop for those researching immigrant-related topics. I’m also interested in reaching out beyond academia. I've written policy briefs and given presentations to elected officials and high-level government officials, and I regularly give public talks, from students in grade 4 classrooms to seniors in retirement residences.
2008 Ramakrishnan, S.K., Bloemraad, I. (Eds.) Civic Hopes and Political Realities: Immigrants, Community Organizations, and Political Engagement. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.
2006 Bloemraad, I. . Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada. University of California Press.
**NEW** Bloemraad, I., Wright, M. 2014. “Utter Failure” or Unity out of Diversity? Debating and Evaluating Policies of Multiculturalism. International Migration Review 48(S1): S292-S334.
deGraauw, E., Gleeson, S., Bloemraad, I. 2013. Funding Immigrant Organizations: Suburban Free-riding and Local Civic Presence. American Journal of Sociology 119(1): 75-130.
Bloemraad, I., Provine, D.M. 2013. Immigrants and Civil Rights in Cross-National Perspective: Lessons from North America. Journal of Comparative Migration Studies 1(1): 45-68.
Chung, A., Bloemraad, I., Tejada, K. 2013. Reinventing an Authentic “Ethnic” Politics: Ideology and Organizational Change in Koreatown and Field’s Corner. Ethnicities. 13(6): 838–862.
Bloemraad, I. 2013. Accessing the Corridors of Power: Puzzles and Pathways to Understanding Minority Representation. West European Politics 36(3): 652-670.
Fox, C., Bloemraad, I., Kesler, C. 2013. “Immigration, Political Participation and Redistributive Social Policy.” Pp. 381-420 in Immigration and Poverty, edited by David Card and Steven Raphael. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.
Bloemraad, I., Schönwälder, K. 2013. Immigrant and Ethnic: Minority Representation in Europe: Conceptual Challenges and Theoretical Approaches. West European Politics 36(3): 564-579.
Bloemraad, I. 2013. Being American / Becoming American: Birthright Citizenship and Immigrants’ Membership in the United States. Studies in Law, Politics and Society 60: 55-84.
Bloemraad, I. 2013. The Promise and Pitfalls of Comparative Research Design in the Study of Migration. Migration Studies 1(1): 27-46. Available at: http://migration.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/mns035?
Bloemraad, I. 2013. ““The Great Concern of Government:” Public Policy as Material and Symbolic Resources.” Pp. 195-208 in Outsiders no More? Models of Immigrant Political Incorporation, edited by Jennifer Hochschild, Jacqueline Chattopadhyay, Claudine Gay and Michael Jones-Correa. New York: Oxford University Press
Wright, M., Bloemraad, I. 2012. “Is There a Trade-off Between Multiculturalism and Socio-Political Integration? Policy Regimes and Immigrant Incorporation in Comparative Perspective.” Perspectives on Politics 10(1): 77-95.
Gleeson, S., Bloemraad I. 2012. Assessing the Scope of Immigrant Organizations: Official Undercounts and Actual Underrepresentation. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.
Bloemraad, I., Gleeson, S. 2012. “Making the Case for Organizational Presence: Civic Inclusion, Access to Resources, and Formal Community Organizations.” Pp. 109-134 in Remaking Urban Citizenship: Organizations, Institutions, and the Right to the City, edited by Michael Peter Smith and Michael McQuarrie. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers
Bloemraad, I. 2012. “What the Textbooks Don’t Tell You: Moving from a Research Puzzle to Published Findings.” Pp. 502-520 in Handbook of Research Methods in Migration, edited by Carlos Vargas-Silva. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
2010 Kesler, C., Bloemraad, I. Does Immigration Erode Social Capital? The Conditional Effects of Immigration-Generated Diversity on Trust, Membership, and Participation across 19 Countries, 1981-2000. Canadian Journal of Political Science 43(2): 319-347
2008 Bloemraad, I., Trost, C. . It’s a Family Affair: Inter-generational Mobilization in the Spring 2006 Protests. American Behavioral Scientist 52(4): 507-532.
2008 Bloemraad, I. Korteweg, A., Yurdakul, G. . Citizenship and Immigration: Multiculturalism, Assimilation, and Challenges to the Nation-State. Annual Review of Sociology 34: 8.1-8.27.
2008 Ramakrishnan, S.K., Bloemraad, I. . “Introduction: Civic and Political Inequalities” and “Making Organizations Count: Case Studies in California.” In Civic Hopes and Political Realities: Immigrants, Community Organizations, and Political Engagement, S. Karthick Ramakrishnan and Irene Bloemraad, eds. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.
2007 Bloemraad, I. . Unity in Diversity? Bridging Models of Multiculturalism and Immigrant Integration. DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race 4(2): 317-336.
2006 Bloemraad, I. . Becoming a Citizen in the United States and Canada: Structured Mobilization and Immigrant Political Incorporation. Social Forces 85(2): 667-695.
2006 Bloemraad, I. . Citizenship Lessons from the Past: The Contours of Immigrant Naturalization in the Early Twentieth Century. Social Science Quarterly 87(5): 927-953.
2006 Bloemraad, I, Ueda, R. . Naturalization and Nationality. Pp. 36-57 in Companion to American Immigration, edited by Reed Ueda. Oxford: Blackwell.
2005 Bloemraad, I. . The Limits of de Tocqueville: How Government Facilitates Organizational Capacity in Newcomer Communities. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 31(5): 865-887.
2004 Bloemraad, I. Who Claims Dual Citizenship? The Limits of Postnationalism, the Possibilities of Transnationalism, and the Persistence of Traditionalism. International Migration Review 38(2): 389-426.
2001 Bloemraad, I. . Outsiders and Insiders: Collective Identity and Collective Action in the Quebec Independence Movement, 1995. Research in Political Sociology (The Politics of Social Inequality) Vol. 9: 271-305. Amsterdam: Elsevier.