University of Illinois at Chicago
ABAD-DISSERTATION-2016.pdf (1.24 MB)
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Juggling Logics: How Nonprofit Staff Construct an Immigrant Service Field in a New Destination

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posted on 2017-02-17, 00:00 authored by Melissa Victoria Abad
This inductive qualitative study examines the process of how nonprofit professionals collaborate with local elites to create and sustain immigrant services in suburban Chicago. It shows how the race and ethnicity of local elites and nonprofit professionals influences the status of distinct agencies. The evidence presented is drawn from eighty semi-structured interviews with nonprofits professionals and local officials, over one thousand hours of observations in the two communities spent attending professional association meetings and spending time with community leaders. This comparative case study shows: (1) how Latina entrepreneurs have to work within the unofficial guidelines of the white power elite; (2) how the conflicts between Latino professionals’ understanding of Latino social needs provides space for their white colleagues to experience occupational mobility; and (3) how the challenges of low organizational density limits the extent to which suburban nonprofits can engage in statewide efforts towards immigrant specific programming. My findings provide models that can be tested to: a) measure ethnic homogeneity within professions; b) examine the relationship between race, community networks, and organizational legitimacy; c) and a model to examine the relationship between community, organizational density, and social policy change.



Bielby, William



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Garcia, Lorena McInerney, Paul-Brian Cordero-Guzman, Hector Popielarz, Pamela

Submitted date

December 2016

Issue date


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