Social Capital and Immigration

Social capital is key factor for immigrants to stay and settle in the receiving societies because in the form of enforceable trust it helps encourage them and find ways out to overcome and fight confrontations from the receiving societies. Social capital in the form of bounded solidarity or bounded communities help them stay satisfied that moral imperatives experienced by other immigrants will help them out of problems at the hosting society. Those immigrants who experience enforceable trust, bounded solidarity, and other forms of social capital, get more confidence in staying and grooming at the host society. However, those who find that leaving the receiving society is the only easy way out for them, they will return and will not settle as immigrant. Thus social capital helps immigrants develop a confidence and availability of reliable sources in the form of supporters from the same ethnic community whom they trust that they can get help from. On one hand social capital helps provide network support to immigrants in the form of ease in findings jobs, social support, and confidence as they can receive loans, accommodations and jobs easily if they become of part of their own ethnic network. On the other hand, bounded solidarity costs immigrants in the form of being overloaded with obligations. For example being obliged to give loans or donations, or keeping people from the same ethnic group despite capability shortcomings.

Immigrants are able to exert enforceable trust towards other immigrants because commonalities of experience of departure at home country and conditions at the receiving country create strong bonds between them. Immigrants especially belonging to the same ethnic or geographical group, are believed to behave alike either due to their social upbringing at the sending society or because of their common experiences and feelings of sympathy. These perceived behaviors help immigrants exert enforceable trust on other immigrants very easily.

When members of a particular group or ethnicity find themselves affected by a common event at a particular place and time, and they unite together to form to avoid the negative effects of that event, they are said to have formed a bounded community. Since the formation of this community is due to a common problem, faced by a group sharing common characteristics. Bounded community is a type of social capital which depends upon the moral imperative felt by individuals of the same related group to behave in certain way. A very famous example in literature is that of the Columbian policeman who killed two black men and was suspended from his job. When he went to local radio station to plea for help, he used the same moral imperative that he is a Columbian and that’s why he is being treated as a scapegoat. This worked as a moral imperative for other Columbians to behave sympathetically towards him and help him financially. The unity of Columbians in response to that event was because of the moral imperative that other Columbians may also face the same situation and would need help and only the Columbian immigrants would be able to help them. Thus the event helped create a bounded community.

When immigrant communities confront receiving society, it creates the sense of community among them due to the same moral imperative. Each immigrant from the same ethnicity feels him/herself vulnerable to the effects of host society confrontation, which brings the immigrants closer together the form a bounded community for the sake of self-support and protection against those vulnerabilities. Not only does this bounded solidarity awaken the dormant feelings of nationality but also other feelings related to the sending culture and society.

In my view, these bounded communities are playing a major role in erasing the US national identity because being a host to a huge diversity of immigrant cultures and nationalities, major parts of the country are representative of immigrant cultures and bounded communities. Since the host communities are not subject to the feelings of boundedness as they do not have to face the context of being scapegoat or being targeted due to their identity, they don’t feel bound together. That is the reason, the bounded communities of immigrants are culturally dominating the major outlook of the United States.