CAREER TRAJECTORIES AND INCORPORATION STRATEGIES IN THE LIFE HISTORIES OF FOREIGN-BORN FACULTY IN THE U.S.
Carattini, Amy Marie
Freidenberg, Judith N
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The primary aim of this study is to understand the factors that influence and affect high-skilled immigrant social practices and adjustment within an occupational unit located in the U.S. The secondary aim is to contribute to the body of knowledge in the process of transforming public perceptions from that of classifying immigrants almost exclusively in low skilled sectors to acknowledging the diversity of skill among the foreign-born. Through research with foreign-born faculty, located at a research university, this study focuses on career trajectories with special attention to domains of connection. Research findings indicate that their visibility as foreign-born is complex. Foreign-born faculty are no longer counted in university data when they have naturalized; however, many are recognized and counted as adding to minority quotas (such as Black, Latin@, and Asian). Foreign-born faculty who participated in this study, referred to as study collaborators for their engagement in the research process, often described who they were and what they did in relation to their occupation rather than their countries of birth and/or settlement--expressing a range of social connection(s) and incorporation strategies. The guiding question for this research is: "What variables influence domains of connection for foreign-born faculty?" In order to answer this question, 48 life history interviews were used to understand how foreign-born faculty constructed their career paths from early educational experiences to selecting teaching and/or research positions in their chosen field--both of which are connected to their subsequent/on-going immigration decisions. Research findings indicate two major career trajectories as they intersect with immigration, 1) being trained and professionally developed in the U.S. or 2) securing employment in the U.S. after being trained and professionally developed abroad. Three domains of connection are identified: political, lifestyle, and professional. This study contributes to anthropology of immigration and recent trends in scholarship by following skilled immigrant incorporation into the labor market to understand their social practices and concludes with suggestions for applied and policy contributions.