Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Civil society is the foundation of a healthy democracy but its immigrant element has received little attention. This paper is a case study of immigrant organizations of highly skilled Asian Indians and Chinese immigrants in a suburban town of Edison, New Jersey. I find that civic participation of Asian Indian immigrants spills over into political incorporation while Chinese immigrant organizations remain margin- alized. I argue that local processes of racialization are central in explaining differences in political incorporation of immigrants. In the local context, the Chinese are seen as successful but conformist model minorities and Asian Indians as invaders and troublemakers. The racialization of Asian Indians has resulted in more political activity and higher levels of political visibility of their organizations. The results highlight shortcomings of current assimilation theories, which give little space to civic and political incorporation and view human capital in an unqualifiedly positive light.


This is the author's manuscript of a work originally published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, available at DOI: 10.1080/01419870802541747



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.