Asset Accumulation Strategies in 3 New Settlements Communities
This project was supported by National Research Initiative Grant no. 2006-35401-17429 from the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Rural Development Program, (AFRI at National Institute for Food and Agriculture).
Since 2002, the University of Missouri has engaged in a continuous dialogue across the region on how to facilitate the smooth and lasting integration of Latino newcomers in Missouri. The dialogue is facilitated by an annual Conference, Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) in Missouri, where scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and the newcomers meet to collaboratively address the challenges and opportunities resulting from the dramatic changes many communities experience. University faculty are conducting research designed to answer questions we are asked every year:
- How do Latino newcomers get by and get ahead?
- How do the communities where they settle benefit from their economic and social integration?
A three year research project will focus on the processes of integration and economic development taking place in the new settlement communities of Missouri. The experiences of three distinct settlement patterns will be explored.
"Recent developments in the cultural identity literature can help us to move beyond a deficits approach to viewing culture not an obstacle but as a resource from which individuals draw to create strategies to function in various domains in society (Berry 2003). This new orientation shifts us away from a deficit model for thinking about how individuals of different cultures gain and lose in the process of integration to recognizing the multiple ways that individuals can adapt in new and ever changing environments without suffering loss of identity in the process. This approach shifts our attention to looking at what the newcomers offer and leads us to ponder how we can engage them in the future development and prosperity of the new settlement communities." (Asset Accumulation Strategies, 2006)
Newcomers and their families integrated to their new settlement communities; Thriving communities; Pluralism
An asset accumulation strategies model is based on the sustainable livelihoods framework, and examines how newcomer families use their capitals--economic, human, social, and cultural--in income earning strategies, and the role that community climate plays in the process of economic integration.