The goal of this study was to provide an understanding of the concept of ethnic enclosure in leisure and the effect it has on the lives of immigrants after their settlement in the host country. This study explored the reasons that motivate ethnic minorities to associate predominantly with members of the same ethnic group and determined possible consequences of ethnic enclosure in leisure. Analysis presented in this study is based on semi-structured, in-depth interviews that were conducted in Chicago, Illinois, between April and October 2001 with 39 first-generation immigrants from Korea, Mexico, and Poland. The overwhelming majority of interviewees confirmed that members of their own ethnic group constituted their primary leisure companions. Commonly mentioned explanations for the ethnic enclosure in leisure included comfort level, similar experiences, common culture, lack of conversation topics with mainstream Americans, lack of English language skills, discrimination/exclusion by the mainstream, and fear of the unknown. Limiting leisure contacts to members of their own ethnic group provided psychological and emotional comfort to immigrants as well as certain tangible economic benefits. On the other hand, it delayed their assimilation, led to difficulties in securing employment, and hindered advancement in the workplace.
- Ethnic enclosure
- Social networks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management