Immigrants and the Formation of Community: A Case Study

Research positions today provide many avenues of investigative theory for the ethnologist. He or she may follow the assimilationists or revivalists, the primordialists or circumstantialists, the culturists or structuralists. Dr Bibas eschews these approaches as too rigid, too ideal, and pursues instead the ethnic formation perspective, which envisions outcomes that are neither uniform nor unidirectional. He views immigrants not as passive units acted upon by the host community, but as active agents in a give-and-take encounter. His particular focus is on a group of Moroccan Jews recently arrived in the United States. Bibas points out that, in the context of a pluralistic society like America's immigrants do not refer themselves to an abstract and monolithic society, but to a particular group to which they are linked by bonds of religion, race, or nationality. in this case, the link is with the larger Jewish community. Included in the book are appendices which deal with methodology and provide a survey questionnaire.