Patterns of Socialization among New Latino Immigrants in Comparative Historical Perspective

Stephen Armet


Education is a bridge enabling children of low-skilled immigrants to access higher tiered professions in a segmented labor force in order to experience socio-economic gains and social mobility. Historically, Catholic immigrants (Irish, Polish, Italian and German) have been served by the parish school which provided a basis for household integration and economic advancement in American society. This paper explores the relationship between the parish school as an agent of socialization and children of new Catholic Latino immigrants. Comparative historical analysis of old and new patterns of immigration serves to demonstrate how the mediating role of the parish school has changed. Qualitative analysis contributes to a theory of institutionally generated social capital which is operationalized by measures of communitarian socialization. Using data from the Consortium of Chicago School Research, I use ordered logit regression to measure the effect of high school socialization patterns on student’s pro-social outcomes. I find that contrary to national data, Catholic high schools in Chicago are enrolling higher percentages of Latinos, a majority of whom are children of immigrants. A school climate characterized by affective support and inspirational ideology are significantly related to pro-social outcomes, while intergenerational closure is not. These findings are important because the parish school has a legacy of contributing to conditions necessary for children of immigrants to experience upward mobility.

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