Margaret Chin: The Hidden Rules of Work for Second Generation Asian Americans

MAR 23, 2017 | 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




March 23, 2017: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM




Advanced Research Collaborative


ARC Seminar: Margaret Chin: The Hidden Rules of Work for Second Generation Asian Americans

With a growing population of college-educated, second generation children of immigrants joining the labor force, it is necessary to examine how young professionals navigate the work world, and the extent to which race and ethnicity play a role in their career paths. However there is limited research on this issue, particularly about the privatized, corporate world where ethnic minorities and racial discourses are less visible, and the politics of promotion, attrition, hiring, and firing are less transparent. Forty Asian Americans working in finance in New York City were interviewed over the course of 12 months and observed at bars after work with colleagues and personal friends, to begin to understand the implications of race as it pertains to institutional politics in corporate America from the perspective of the employee. Preliminary examination of the data suggests gatekeeping practices in the corporate system are discrete and veiled by a corporate culture emphasizing success through meritocracy, which downplays the salience of race. Thus the nature of corporate culture and its relationship to racial inequality at the work place needs to be further examined.

Margaret M. Chin was born and raised in New York City and is herself a child of Chinese immigrant parents. She is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center. Margaret received her BA from Harvard University and her PhD from Columbia University. She is currently a Faculty Associate of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, and a member of the CUNY Mapping Asian American New York group, and the CUNY Asian American / Asian Research Institute. Margaret’s honors include an American Sociological Association’s Minority Fellows Award, a NSF Dissertation Grant, a Social Science Research Councils Post Doctoral Fellowship in International Migration, and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship for junior faculty.  She was the Vice President of the Eastern Sociological Society (2015-2016).  Her specialties include immigration, family, work, Asian Americans, and children of immigrants.  She authored Sewing Women: Immigrants and the NYC Garment Industry, an illuminating ethnography on the Chinese and Korean garment sectors, which received an Honorable Mention from the Thomas and Znaniecki Annual Book Award for best book on Immigration from the ASA International Migration Section.   And she is currently working on a book manuscript on Asian American professionals which elaborates on her article, “Asian Americans, Bamboo Ceilings, and Affirmative Action” (Contexts - Winter 2016).