Shoua Yang

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Culhane, Paul J.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Hmong Americans; Political refugees--United States--Societies; etc; Political refugees--Laos


Previous research on Indochinese refugee organizations, including Hmong- American organizations, focuses on intraorganizational conflicts, managerial styles, and functional responsibilities, but do not study the formation and maintenance of these organizations. The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the formation and maintenance of 10 Hmong-American organizations. To provide background, this dissertation examines Hmong history in China, their migration into Laos, clan structures, political participation in the French colonial rule in Laos, and involvement in the Vietnam War. As a result of the Hmong-American alliance in Laos during the war, more than 100,000 Hmong fled their country to America. In America, the Hmong organized homeland political organizations, nonprofit social service organizations, including clan, women, and professional organizations. The method used to collect data was qualitative. Interviewed in both English and Hmong, participants in this project were organizational founders, board members, staff members, and members of these organizations; and the final data set contained 87 interviewees. Four kinds of open-ended questions, a set for each group of interviewees, were designed to get information about the formation and maintenance of these organizations, classified according to their purposes, in Fresno, California, and in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. In addition, organizational documents in English, in Hmong, and in Lao; organizational newsletters and brochures; personal letters; and conversations in social settings were also utilized. The results of the study support the assumptions that Lao Communist threats and group formation and countervailing group formation were the leading factors in the formation of the two homeland political groups and that these groups have been maintained by their organizational goals, intraorganizational interaction, interorganizational networks, and honorific leadership positions. The results of the study also support the assumptions that serious social and cultural disturbances, professional solidarity, and Hmong social capital were the leading themes in the formation of the nonprofit organizations and that government, foundation, and corporation grants and membership fees have supported these groups. In addition, using historical, anthropological, and organizational approaches, this dissertation defined the Hmong national problems to be addressed by the formation of a supreme and national Hmong system of governance.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [304]-314).


xi, 342 pages, maps




Northern Illinois University

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