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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 12:26 AM
Docere Docere is offline
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Measuring the size of diasporas

When we hear claims like Chicago has the largest Polish population outside Poland or after Warsaw, say. But while there are lots of first- and second-generation Poles and Polish speakers there are also a lot of third and fourth generation Americans of Polish ancestry who are only partially Polish, live in far flung suburbs, don't speak a word of Polish etc.

How should the size of diasporas be determined? Should there be a limit on how many generations removed from the immigrant experience, single vs. multiple ancestry etc., whether there's a political issue uniting multiple generations of the community etc.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 12:42 AM
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Tricky question, especially considering that the world (not just the U.S.) is becoming more and more of a melting pot. I'd say it's more complicated because one must consider how much the original culture has remained, how much have they integrated into their new "home" culture, have the cultures merged to form a "new" culture, etc.? Does one just count those who left for whatever reason or those who are descendants of those who left? How does language (specifically that which is spoken in the home) come into play?

I have Irish, English, German, and Dutch blood...but my family (surname, at least) is traceable to have entered what is now the U.S. in Virginia in the mid-1600s. Do I have the right to claim Irish or English, at least from my surname, if we've been in the U.S. since the 1600s? We've been in Texas for three or four generations and are thoroughly "Texan" now...so how does that affect things?

I'm no anthropologist, but I can imagine that this would require a lot of research. Perhaps there is already some sort of method to study this sort of thing out there...even more, there may be an answer to your specific question through a study that already exists.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 1:04 AM
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A fascinating example is the Boston Irish, the vast majority of whom are at least fourth or fifth generation Americans. Yet 40% of those in the Boston area reporting Irish ancestry report their ancestry as only Irish, there's a residential concentration in the South Shore (aka Irish Riviera), there was a lot of sympathy and support for the IRA etc.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 11:09 AM
montréaliste montréaliste is offline
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Originally Posted by Docere View Post
A fascinating example is the Boston Irish, the vast majority of whom are at least fourth or fifth generation Americans. Yet 40% of those in the Boston area reporting Irish ancestry report their ancestry as only Irish, there's a residential concentration in the South Shore (aka Irish Riviera), there was a lot of sympathy and support for the IRA etc.
Funny! I walked the streets of Southie a month ago. There were so many Irish flags on houses and public buildings along the beaches,etc... I wondered if the lead up to St Party's day was the reason for this but surmised it was probably a year round thing. Montreal's Pointe St Charles has a few Irish markings including some IRA graffiti and looks scruffier than Southie.

As per the diaspora question, it's a tough one to call.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 11:46 AM
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So, I was thinking about cultures/ethnicities/languages spreading and had a thought on cultural identity. There is a minority group in SW China called the Pumi which has roughly 30,000 members, officially. However, there are many thousands of people in Sichuan Province who refer to themselves and are officially identified as Tibentans. However, linguistically and historically, they were/are Pumi. Their identity now and their demographic recording is "Tibetan" instead. This happened around the time of the Cultural Revolution for several reasons. Either way, the number of Tibetans in Sichuan Province, while high anyway, is now inflated because of misinformation fueled by political pressure and a will to survive. Also, the number of Pumi in China is lower than what is actual.

This small example is interesting to me because I think of how many folks come from one place to another in war, famine, political instability, etc., and will sometimes necessarily fabricate information for the sake of survival. How does this affect the tracking of diasporas?

What about folks who are misinformed on their own history? I was raised thinking I was mostly Irish when, in fact, I'm mostly English (I discovered this while doing a lengthy genealogy project). My surname is present in both England and Ireland, though my particular family line came from England. I've never claimed "Irish" on the census or anything because, as stated above, my family has been away from the British Isles for centuries. That said, it was admittedly strange to think that my family came directly from England, not Ireland... So how does one deal with that sort of experience in the study of a diaspora?

I'm just asking these questions because I'm honestly curious. Not trying to throw a wrench in the gears of the discussion by any means.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 12:51 PM
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In the UK most people will identify as 'British' within a generation, and increasingly on the Census, as 'White British' whether they have Polish, Iranian, Estonian, Arab, Jewish etc ancestry. A good example would be Rita Ora, who turns out is actually of Muslim Albanian ancestry, born in Kosovo and arriving as a refugee. Or Zayn (Javvad) Malik, a Pakistani Briton and fellow Muslim. It appears it's not just a case of 'if I can get away with it, I will', but that the new generations fully identify as being White British before 'White Other', despite respecting their ancestry and native cultures.



Thus ancestry can be very hidden, often unintentionally. For example an estimated one third of native White Londoners are actually of Irish ancestry, and an overlapping half are French, despite many believing themselves native English. Due to the sharp decline in religion (such as Judaic identification) with every new generation, a large amount of Londoners have Jewish ancestry on top - historically they were the second biggest minority.

Last edited by muppet; Apr 24, 2017 at 1:23 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 2:14 PM
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A very interesting question, and an ancient one. Th whole human population appears to be a diaspora out of Africa - although a while back.

Personally, I find that in many cases in the USA, there is a relationship to self-perceived identity which may or may not be very accurate. Thus we have people who had some relative come from Ireland 3-4 generations ago identifying themselves as Irish. In a sense, I have no idea what that means. Some of my relatives came from Scotland in the late 18th Century to America; I have a Scottish surname and lived in Edinburgh for 10 years. But, I am not Scottish by any reasonable definition, nor would I claim to be. So this brings up the question? "When does a so-called diaspora end?" Are those Ireland lovers in So Boston really Irish? What period of assimilation time is necessary for any individual stemming from some earlier relocation to still consider themselves part of a diaspora?

Of course this is very complicated and confounded by ideas about religion, nationality, identity, race and any number of factors that make a discussion of this topic very difficult. Good luck with this one.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2017, 7:10 PM
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Note that "white British" is just the tallied report for English, Scottish and Welsh as well as generic "British."

"English" is more of a "white" identity. 72% of "white British" in England are actually "English" responses." Even among Jews - who are mostly third and fourth generation Britons of Eastern European ancestry - a majority say they're "English."

In contrast, South Asian and Black groups report mostly "British."

http://www.ethnicity.ac.uk/medialibr...ls-british.pdf

As for the Irish in London, yes, "English" or "British" seems to start with the second generation. Only 2% of Londoners are from the "white Irish" ethnic group which is synonymous more or less with Irish immigrants.

One thing to note about London too is that Irish immigration is more of a 20th century phenomenon than a 19th century one.

In Liverpool, only 1.4% are "white Irish." Obviously it is much higher than that - given the substantial Irish immigration it received in the mid-19th century. I'd guess at least a third are of Irish ancestry, I've heard as high as 50%.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 2:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuckerman View Post
A very interesting question, and an ancient one. Th whole human population appears to be a diaspora out of Africa - although a while back.

Personally, I find that in many cases in the USA, there is a relationship to self-perceived identity which may or may not be very accurate. Thus we have people who had some relative come from Ireland 3-4 generations ago identifying themselves as Irish. In a sense, I have no idea what that means. Some of my relatives came from Scotland in the late 18th Century to America; I have a Scottish surname and lived in Edinburgh for 10 years. But, I am not Scottish by any reasonable definition, nor would I claim to be. So this brings up the question? "When does a so-called diaspora end?" Are those Ireland lovers in So Boston really Irish? What period of assimilation time is necessary for any individual stemming from some earlier relocation to still consider themselves part of a diaspora?

Of course this is very complicated and confounded by ideas about religion, nationality, identity, race and any number of factors that make a discussion of this topic very difficult. Good luck with this one.
I'm with you on this, as per my example above of my ancestry.

I've also lived and worked in Asia for many years and have many friends from around the world in the expat community. I've learned from them, and hopefully they from me. We've merged our cultures on our various holidays and the ways in which we celebrate them. I've got great friends here from four continents, not to mention my many Chinese friends and other Asian friends who live and work here. When I go back to the States, though I'm from there, I feel out of place because my life is elsewhere...even though my culture is rooted there. My young son was born in Texas but has thus far lived in China. He will most certainly be bilingual and possibly trilingual. I've learned a lot and have adapted some to Asian culture, but I will never be Asian, of course (nor would I ever claim this). My son, on the other hand, while obviously white, will relate much more to Asian culture than American culture if he continues to grow up here (assuming we don't move at some point) and will feel pretty out of place if he moves back to Texas for college or something. So, technically, he's American of European descent, but his worldview may be more Asian as he grows up. The world is a super confusing place, haha.

I think this all goes to show why I truly don't like a lot of the race/religion questions on the census and other surveys. In some ways I get why they're there, but I almost wonder if they truly need to be there.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 4:47 AM
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Are those Ireland lovers in So Boston really Irish?
Do you are they "really Irish" in that they're too removed from Ireland to really be Irish in any meaningful sense, or are you suggesting a lot are "mistaken" about their Irish ancestry?

From what I understand, the Irish-Yankee tensions were particularly bad, and Irish social mobility was slower than in other cities. In Boston, the Irish influx occurred when the "Athens of America" was already 200 years old, while in Chicago say, they were there pretty much at the beginning.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 5:58 AM
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The Age of Empires has also ensured DNA across the world is thoroughly mixed between continents. Europe had the trading empires of the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Carthage, Greece and Rome to thank for an influx of Middle Eastern and Africans (which accounts for example the high amount of African DNA among Northern Britons), plus the foreign invasions from the Huns (read: the remains of the Han Dynasty), Mongols (who reached as far as Vienna), Moors (read: Arabs, who ruled for 700 years), Ottomans (who ruled as the premier European empire for 400 years). Then there was the Slave Trade (led by Arab, Ottoman and European empires), which for example resulted in 20,000 black Africans in London by the 1700s.

Likewise on the other side of the world there was the Silk Route (overland and maritime, which saw in Greeks, French, Persians, Indians, SE Asian and African traders into China), colonialism, vassal states and even more invasions and trade routes, notably the Indian sea empires, who dominated the Indian ocean before the Chinese set sail in 1421 with the world's largest pre-industrial fleets (accounting for Chinese DNA as far afield as East Africa). Later the Arab trade routes between Africa and SE/ Eastern Asia, the notorious piracy of the Japanese along the Pacific coasts, then the Mongol Conquest across the entire continent, that for example gave rise later to the Mughals of India (read: Mongols), the Golden Horde across Russia and Central Asia, and the Ilkhanate of Iran/ Turkey.


Another round came later with the age of colonialism in the 18th-19th Century, mostly European powers but also American, Ottoman, Ethiopian, Japanese and Manchurian.

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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 6:08 AM
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In the UK most people will identify as 'British' within a generation, and increasingly on the Census, as 'White British' whether they have Polish, Iranian, Estonian, Arab, Jewish etc ancestry.
You see the same thing in Canada. Instead of ticking off numerous ethnicity boxes many just tick 'Canadian'. Then there are people who've been here for generations so view themselves simply as 'Canadian' rather than Irish-Canadian or French-Canadian. Unsurprisingly, 'Canadian' is the #1 'ethnicity' in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. It's also the oldest part of the country.

Bizarrely, the only place that listed their ethnicity as 'French' was a jurisdiction in Alberta and one in Nova Scotia. French-Canadians tend to just write 'Canadian' on the census.


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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 11:38 AM
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Bizarrely [...] French-Canadians tend to just write 'Canadian' on the census.
The Canadiens were there a few generations (around 6) before the British invasion. People in Nouvelle-France made the difference between the Canadiens (from French descent but born here in the country, often mixed with the First Nations) and the French (generally the colonial elite or first generation newcomers from France). We always called ourselves Canadiens. We didn't change that after we lost our country to the hand of the British. It even crystallized our identity, as the new British elites and settlers preferred to call themselves British at least until the BNAA of 1867. Nothing strange here. I see though that the "oldest parts" of British Canada like Southern Ontario still like to call themselves English. THAT is interesting
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 11:53 AM
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Why is the Canadian West so heavily self-identified as British?

One thing I've noticed in Vancouver is that there's a pretty obvious British (or just English?) influence, not unlike the Irish influence in Boston. Though in Vancouver it's among the upper class, not the working class. The white parts of Vancouver, especially the affluent parts (North/West Van) almost seem like British outposts.

Did Vancouver get a lot of British immigration until recently?
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 2:03 PM
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Why is the Canadian West so heavily self-identified as British?

One thing I've noticed in Vancouver is that there's a pretty obvious British (or just English?) influence, not unlike the Irish influence in Boston. Though in Vancouver it's among the upper class, not the working class. The white parts of Vancouver, especially the affluent parts (North/West Van) almost seem like British outposts.

Did Vancouver get a lot of British immigration until recently?
Yes, there's quite a bit. My grandfather's family largely ended up in BC from England while he, his sister and parents wound up in NY. They moved to areas (in NY and BC) with large English immigrant populations.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 3:03 PM
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On the question of Boston's Irish population, it's hard to consider them as a diaspora anymore considering the migratory links are so far removed; but they've instead since formed a unique American-Irish culture rather than just becoming wholly assimilated into the white American mainstream

It's like that with a lot of cultures after a few generations - both the emigrant population and that of their original homeland gradually diverge and neither really resembles the other anymore, but the descendants of the diaspora don't entirely shed their ethnic origins and instead live on as a unique cultural minority. A lot of North American Jewish and Italian communities are like this, as I'm sure many more will in the future.



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Did Vancouver get a lot of British immigration until recently?

The British are actually the largest single immigrant group in Canada (if Hong Kong is considered separate from China), and as of 2015 still the 9th largest annual source of immigrants. It's not quite as popular a destination as Australia is, but there are still a surprising number of British expats across the country.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 4:13 PM
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Why is the Canadian West so heavily self-identified as British?

One thing I've noticed in Vancouver is that there's a pretty obvious British (or just English?) influence, not unlike the Irish influence in Boston. Though in Vancouver it's among the upper class, not the working class. The white parts of Vancouver, especially the affluent parts (North/West Van) almost seem like British outposts.

Did Vancouver get a lot of British immigration until recently?
Yes, BC in particular has received a lot of British immigration. In the early 20th a lot of working class Brits immigrated to Canada. I guess it's been more middle/upper class in the late 20th century. A lot of British technicians came to Canada in the 50s and 60s also.

The British feel is quite evident in much of Vancouver IMO - particularly the North Shore and also White Rock I believe, as well as of course Victoria and the southern half of Vancouver Island.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 4:18 PM
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Well, the Irish are certainly undercounted in Newfoundland/St. John's. Many of them write "Canadian" on the census. I believe Newfoundland is about 35% Catholic I believe and St. John's close to 50%, but the Canadian census says 22% and 32% Irish respectively. We know the vast majority of Newfoundlanders are of English Protestant or Irish Catholic roots (the English dominated in the outports, the Irish mostly in St. John's and the Avalon Peninsula).

One interesting thing about Newfoundland too is that the Irish are pre-Famine. They basically bypassed Newfoundland in the Famine years.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 5:02 PM
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Re: Looking at the Canadian map, basically the part of the country where the population was overwhelmingly comprised of people with multiple generations in Canada a century ago. "Canadian" responses in the West is lower because it was mostly populated via direct immigration from Britain and Europe in the early 20th century.

This is one of the reasons - in addition to physical geography - why I think the east/west divide in sharper in Canada than in the US. While direct immigration occurred in the West (such as British Mormon immigration to Utah, or Irish and Italians in San Francisco, Scandinavians to the Pacific Northwest etc.), they were probably outnumbered by westward migration of native born Americans.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2017, 9:07 PM
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Here's an interesting NYT piece from 1983 on Irish American politics in New York.

Quote:
''One would have a very hard time imagining the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago turning into a battle over the I.R.A.,'' said William C. McCready, an associate professor at the University of Chicago's School for Social Service Administration. ''The New York Irish and Boston Irish are atypical - they're still much more connected to Ireland and follow the issues more closely than people in Ireland do themselves. In other cities, the Irish have dispersed much faster. In Chicago, they're much more interested in Cook County politics than in Ireland.''
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/03/04/ny...pagewanted=all

It notes the presence of 20th century Irish immigrant neighborhoods such as Woodlawn and Yonkers with more hard-line views than those of more long established, assimilated Irish Americans.

The fifth generation "militant Irish American" thing is probably more of a Boston phenomenon, while in New York it's more a product of 20th century immigration.
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