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Beyond Expectations

Second-Generation Nigerians in the United States and Britain

Onoso Imoagene (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 312 pages
ISBN: 9780520292321
February 2017
$29.95, £24.00
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In Beyond Expectations, Onoso Imoagene delves into the multifaceted identities of second-generation Nigerian adults in the United States and Britain. She argues that they conceive of an alternative notion of "black" identity that differs radically from African American and Black Caribbean notions of "black" in the United States and Britain. Instead of considering themselves in terms of their country of destination alone, second-generation Nigerians define themselves in complicated ways that balance racial status, a diasporic Nigerian ethnicity, a pan-African identity, and identification with fellow immigrants.  
Based on over 150 interviews, Beyond Expectations seeks to understand how race, ethnicity, and class shape identity and how globalization, transnationalism, and national context inform sense of self.


1 • Setting the Context: Immigration, Assimilation versus Racialization, and the African and Nigerian Diasporas in the United States and Britain
2 • “You Are Not Like Me!”: The Impact of Intraracial Distinctions and Interethnic Relations on Identity Formation
3 • “It’s Un-Nigerian Not to Go to College”: Education as an Ethnic Boundary
4 • Forging a Diasporic Nigerian Ethnicity in the United States and Britain
5 • On the Horns of Racialization: Middle Class, Ethnic, and Black
6 • Feeling American in America, Not Feeling British in Britain

Appendix A: Notes on Method
Appendix B: Ethnic Identification Information
Onoso Imoagene is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. 
“Full of insights about the formation of identities among second-generation Nigerians in the U.S. and England, this richly drawn study is a welcome contribution to understanding the increasingly diverse black population on both sides of the Atlantic.”—Nancy Foner, coauthor of Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe

“Onoso Imoagene challenges assimilation theories and deftly shows how second-generation Nigerians achieve upward mobility by choosing ethnicity while negotiating race. Beyond Expectations is a must-read for scholars of immigration, of the second generation, and of race/ethnicity.” —Jennifer Lee, Chancellor’s Fellow and Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine

“Onoso Imoagene provides a rich, empirical account that makes important contributions to our theories of identity and immigrant integration. This should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the changing nature of American and British societies.”—Mary C. Waters, author of Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities

“This book makes important contributions to our understandings of immigration, race, and ethnicity.”—Natasha K. Warikoo, Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities

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