MIGRANT IN THE CITY: The Life of a Puerto Rican Action Group by Lloyd H. Rogler

MIGRANT IN THE CITY: The Life of a Puerto Rican Action Group

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Akin to August Hollingshead's classic Elmtown Youth (in point of fact Rogler and Hollingshead collaborated in 1965 on Trapped: Families and Schizophrenia) and more recently the work of Oscar Lewis or Elliot Liebow (Tally's Corner, 1967), this impressive analysis of a Hispano action group in the anonymous middle-sized, northeastern city of Maplewood (nationally known for its urban redevelopment program, site of a famous university -- New Haven?) minutely narrates the group's genesis, internecine crises, conflicts with the Antipoverty Agency and local Puerto Rican political organization, and its eventually gratifying if limited achievements. Currently a sociology professor at Case Western Reserve, Puerto Rican-born Rogler studied the group for 44 months, acting in the role of participantobserver. His data evaluations, presented in the final chapters, succeed on a number of levels (sociology of small-group dynamics, of urban ethnicity, of political frustration, of immigrant Puerto Rican normative behavior) but most academic interest will center on Rogler's sensitive awareness and handling of the problems of methodology. He considers the ethics of scientific disguise, finally ruling out ""any form of surreptitiousness""; later he grapples with the question of bias, at first limiting his role to silent observer but finding that ""by striving to avoid one error of participation, I was committing another error -- the creation of tensions stemming from my continuing role as a stranger in a primarygroup context""; subsequent adoption of a limited participant strategy, however, introduced the problem of undue investigator-influence. Professor Rogler has produced an important and timely book, and while its essential impact will be in the classroom, it might also be read with profit by urban policy-makers and bureaucrats.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1972
Publisher: Basic Books