Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Ethnic-specific organizations have long been features of American society. Historically, they have provided ethnic actors with

a means of preserving culture and history. They have also been sites where collective interests are pursued. In this dissertation I study two ethnic-specific organizations. Using identity, incorporation and

inequality, as essential dimensions of American ethnicity, I describe how the political and civic work that occurs in two organizations reveals

group boundaries.

My data and analysis support three major findings. First, I find

that the identities that emerge from this kind of organizational work are transactional identities. Transactional identities are identities that are confirmed in social interaction with ethnic and non-co-ethnic actors (i.e., outgroups and mainstream institutions). I argue that transactional identities reflect specific histories and events that determine shared

experiences within an ethnic group and are easily distinguishable from the shared experiences other groups have. Secondly, I find that these sites provide groups with a platform to address experiences of inequality in multicultural environments, such as American society. And lastly, I find that these sites provide ethnic groups

a means to demonstrate cultural citizenship in American society and

institutional belonging in other forums.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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