Ethnic identity scale and social mobility: the case of Nisei in Toronto

Authors


  • *The data reported here were collected by the author for her Ph.D. dissertation. A full report of the study can be found in Tomoko Makabe, “Ethnic Group Identity—Canadian-born Japanese in Metropolitan Toronto,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toronto, June 1976. I would like to thank the editor of The Cunudian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, James N. McCrorie, and two anonymous reviewers, for their careful and perceptive reading and judicious suggestions.

Abstract

La nature et la durée de la survie de l'identité culturelle du groupe ethnique des Canadiens d'origine japonaise dépendent de deux facteurs principaux: la répartition géographique de la population, puis la mobilité qu'elle a eu à subir dans les décades suivant la guerre. Ce rapport analyse les éléments de l'identité culturelle nippo-canadienne au sein de la seconde génération, dans Toronto, au moyen d'une échelle d'identité. II apporte, de plus, une preuve empirique de l'hypothése généralement admise que l'identité culturelle d'un groupe est affaiblie par la mobilité sociale. L'analyse statistique de nos données confirme cette hypothèse: il existe une corrélation négative significative entre l'importance de l'identité culturelle et l'indice de mobilité des individus.

The geographic dispersal of the Japanese population and the subsequent mobility experienced by Japanese Canadians in the postwar decades are considered as critical factors in explaining the nature and the extent of the group's ethnic identity maintenance. The present report explores the components of Japanese-Canadian identity as revealed by the second-generation Japanese in Metropolitan Toronto through the work of identity-scale construction. It further provides empirical evidence supporting the commonly conceived hypothesis that ethnic group identity is weakened with social mobility. The statistical analysis of our data supports the hypothesis: there is a significant correlation between the strength of ethnic identity and the rate of mobility experienced by individuals.

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