Faculty Book: Pyong Gap Min
Pyong Gap Min
Ethnic Solidarity for Economic Survival: Korean Greengrocers in New York City
(Russell Sage Foundation Publications, 2008)
Ethnic Solidarity for Economic Survival is at once a sophisticated empirical analysis and a riveting collection of stories —about immigration, race, work, and the American dream. Pyong Gap Min takes Korean produce retailers as a case study to explore how involvement in ethnic businesses—especially where it collides with the economic interests of other ethnic groups—powerfully shapes the social, cultural, and economic unity of immigrant groups. Pyong Gap Min returns to the racially charged events surrounding black boycotts of Korean stores in the 1990s, which were fueled by frustration among African Americans at a perceived economic invasion of their neighborhoods. The Korean community responded with rallies, political negotiations, and publicity campaigns of their own. The disappearance of such disputes in recent years suggests that ethnic unity is not inevitable but rather emerges, often as a form of self-defense, under certain contentious conditions. Solidarity, Min argues, is situational. Pyong Gap Min is a professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: APR 1, 2008