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.
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 birth in the US for one's sense of membership and 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 shows 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.
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.
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 the walls of the academic ivory tower, and so I regularly present my work to policy makers, academics and the general public.
Work in Progress & Forthcoming
deGraauw, E., Gleeson, S., Bloemraad, I. (Forthcoming, 2013) “Funding Immigrant Organizations: Suburban Free-riding and Local Civic Presence.” American Journal of Sociology 119(1).” Earlier working paper available here.
Chung, A., Bloemraad, I., Tejada, K. (Forthcoming, 2013). “Reinventing an Authentic “Ethnic” Politics: Ideology and Organizational Change in Koreatown and Field’s Corner.” Ethnicities.
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.
Selected Articles and Chapters
**NEW** Bloemraad, I. (2013). Accessing the Corridors of Power: Puzzles and Pathways to Understanding Minority Representation. West European Politics 36(3): 652-670.
**NEW** Bloemraad, I., Schönwälder, K. (2013). Immigrant and Ethnic: Minority Representation in Europe: Conceptual Challenges and Theoretical Approaches. West European Politics 36(3): 564-579.
**NEW** 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.
**NEW** Bloemraad, I. 2013. The Promise and Pitfalls of Comparative Research Design in the Study of Migration. Migration Studies 1(1): 1-20. Available at: http://migration.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/mns035?
Gleeson, S., Bloemraad I. 2012. Assessing the Scope of Immigrant Organizations: Official Undercounts and Actual Underrepresentation. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.
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.
2010 Wolgin, P., Bloemraad, I. “Our Gratitude to Our Soldiers”: Military Spouses, Family Re-unification, and Postwar Immigration Reform. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 41(1): 27-60.
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.
2007 Bloemraad, I. . Of Puzzles and Serendipity: Doing Research with Cross-National Comparisons and Mixed Methods. Pp. 35-49 in Researching Migration: Stories from the Field, edited by Sherrie Kossoudji, Louis DeSipio, and Manuel Garcia y Griego. New York: SSRC Books.
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.