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Generaciones sociales y sociológicas. Un recorrido histórico por la literatura sociológica estadunidense sobre los hijos de inmigrantes

This article reviews the development of the U.S. sociological literature addressing the issue of children of immigrants. Situating sociology within the history of 20th century U.S. immigration flows, we can observe three well-defined periods. Initially, the children of immigrants who arrived in the century´s first decades were described in problematic terms, as marginalized individuals who experienced an intense cultural conflict, due to their confrontation with dual identities. (The legacy of the Chicago School, which paid preferential attention to subjective issues, was dominant at that time.) By mid-century, this pessimistic tone was replaced by something very different that described the successful process of the «Americanization» of the descendants of immigrants and celebrated the capacity of U.S. society to integrate populations from diverse origins. (This was the era of functionalism, which viewed social systems as being coherent.) Later, facing new waves of immigration at century´s end, sociologists tried to answer the question of whether or not assimilation mechanisms were still behaving as they had in the past. (The position of immigrants" children is now analyzed in reference to such factors as ethnicity, social networks, and the parents" human capital.)