Latin American Immigration Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Negotiating National Identity

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and analyze the book "Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil" by Jeffrey Lesser. Specifically, it will contain a scholarly review of the book. Lesser pens a defining look at the ethnicities that make up Brazil, and this book is a necessary read for anyone interested in Brazilian history or social and ethnic identity. While most readers might assume the ethnic divisions are based on traditional European, African, and Brazilian roots - that is not the case. The author makes a clear point that ethnicity is one of the major issues facing many of the world's largest and most influential countries.

Early in the book, the author offers his thesis and purpose for writing this treatise. He notes, "Brazil remains a country where hyphenated ethnicity is predominant yet unacknowledged."

The "hyphenated ethnicity" he refers to includes a diverse ethnic mix of Japanese, Arabs, Portuguese, Spanish, Koreans, Hebrews, and Italians, all blended together to form "Brazilians." However, Lesser mainly concerns himself with three ethnic groups in the book - the Chinese, Middle Easterners (primarily Christians from Syria and Lebanon) and the Japanese. While these do not all represent the major ethnic groups in the country, they are some of the most vocal and influential groups in the country. In fact, the Japanese contingent makes up the largest concentration of Japanese outside of their home country.

The enduring theme of Lesser's work indicates that ethnic concerns are relatively the same the world over. Citizens and countries debate the worth of ethnic immigrants, and never truly accept them into "pure" society. Lesser writes, "A popular saying in Brazil is that when a person from the Middle East first arrives, s/he is a turco. After getting a first steady Job, s/he becomes a sirio. If a shop or factory is purchased, s/he is transformed into a libanese. But I always ask, when do they become Brazilian

Lesser's book answers that question. In theory, for many, they never become Brazilian, in fact, neither do most of…

Sources Used in Documents:


Lesser, Jeffrey. Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

Jeffrey Lesser, Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), 3.

Lesser, 41.

Lesser, 169-170.

Cite This Research Paper:

"Latin American Immigration" (2007, October 03) Retrieved September 23, 2020, from

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"Latin American Immigration", 03 October 2007, Accessed.23 September. 2020,