Working the Boundaries: Race, Space, and “Illegality” in Mexican Chicago

Duke University Press
Free sample

While Chicago has the second-largest Mexican population among U.S. cities, relatively little ethnographic attention has focused on its Mexican community. This much-needed ethnography of Mexicans living and working in Chicago examines processes of racialization, labor subordination, and class formation; the politics of nativism; and the structures of citizenship and immigration law. Nicholas De Genova develops a theory of “Mexican Chicago” as a transnational social and geographic space that joins Chicago to innumerable communities throughout Mexico. “Mexican Chicago” is a powerful analytical tool, a challenge to the way that social scientists have thought about immigration and pluralism in the United States, and the basis for a wide-ranging critique of U.S. notions of race, national identity, and citizenship.

De Genova worked for two and a half years as a teacher of English in ten industrial workplaces (primarily metal-fabricating factories) throughout Chicago and its suburbs. In Working the Boundaries he draws on fieldwork conducted in these factories, in community centers, and in the homes and neighborhoods of Mexican migrants. He describes how the meaning of “Mexican” is refigured and racialized in relation to a U.S. social order dominated by a black-white binary. Delving into immigration law, he contends that immigration policies have worked over time to produce Mexicans as the U.S. nation-state’s iconic “illegal aliens.” He explains how the constant threat of deportation is used to keep Mexican workers in line. Working the Boundaries is a major contribution to theories of race and transnationalism and a scathing indictment of U.S. labor and citizenship policies.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Nicholas De Genova is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Latino Studies Program at Columbia University. He is a coauthor of Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship.

Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Oct 18, 2005
Read more
Collapse
Pages
348
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780822387091
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best For
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Hispanic American Studies
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Some 16.6 million people nationwide live in mixed-status families, containing a combination of U.S. citizens, residents, and undocumented immigrants. U.S. immigration governance has become an almost daily news headline. Yet even in the absence of federal immigration reform over the last twenty years, existing policies and practices have already been profoundly impacting these family units.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in San Diego over more than a decade, Border Brokers documents the continuing deleterious effects of U.S. immigration policies and enforcement practices on a group of now young adults and their families. In the first book-length longitudinal study of mixed-status families, Christina M. Getrich provides an on-the-ground portrayal of these young adults’ lives from their own perspectives and in their own words.

More importantly, Getrich identifies how these individuals have developed resiliency and agency beginning in their teens to improve circumstances for immigrant communities. Despite the significant constraints their families face, these children have emerged into adulthood as grounded and skilled brokers who effectively use their local knowledge bases, life skills honed in their families, and transborder competencies. Refuting the notion of their failure to assimilate, she highlights the mature, engaged citizenship they model as they transition to adulthood to be perhaps their most enduring contribution to creating a better U.S. society.

An accessible ethnography rooted in the everyday, this book portrays the complexity of life in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. It offers important insights for anthropologists, educators, policy-makers, and activists working on immigration and social justice issues.
Moving beyond the black-white binary that has long framed racial discourse in the United States, the contributors to this collection examine how the experiences of Latinos and Asians intersect in the formation of the U.S. nation-state. They analyze the political and social processes that have racialized Latinos and Asians while highlighting the productive ways that these communities challenge and transform the identities imposed on them. Each essay addresses the sociopolitical predicaments of both Latinos and Asians, bringing their experiences to light in relation to one another.

Several contributors illuminate ways that Latinos and Asians were historically racialized: by U.S. occupiers of Puerto Rico and the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century, by public health discourses and practices in early-twentieth-century Los Angeles, by anthropologists collecting physical data—height, weight, head measurements—from Chinese Americans to show how the American environment affected “foreign” body types in the 1930s, and by Los Angeles public officials seeking to explain the alleged criminal propensities of Mexican American youth during the 1940s. Other contributors focus on the coalitions and tensions between Latinos and Asians in the context of the fight to integrate public schools and debates over political redistricting. One addresses masculinity, race, and U.S. imperialism in the literary works of Junot Díaz and Chang-rae Lee. Another looks at the passions, identifications, and charges of betrayal aroused by the sensationalized cases of Elián González, the young Cuban boy rescued off the shore of Florida, and Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos physicist accused of spying on the United States. Throughout this volume contributors interrogate many of the assumptions that underlie American and ethnic studies even as they signal the need for a research agenda that expands the purview of both fields.

Contributors. Nicholas De Genova, Victor Jew, Andrea Levine, Natalia Molina, Gary Y. Okihiro, Crystal Parikh, Greg Robinson, Toni Robinson, Leland T. Saito

The city of Salinas, California, is the birthplace of John Steinbeck and the setting for his epic masterpiece, East of Eden, but it is also the home of Nuestra Familia, one of the most violent gangs in America. Born in the prisons of California in the late 1960s, Nuestra Familia expanded to control drug trafficking and extortion operations throughout the northern half of the state, and left a trail of bodies in its wake. Prize-winning journalist and Nieman Fellow Julia Reynolds tells the gang's story from the inside out, following young men and women as they search for a new kind of family, quests that usually lead to murder and betrayal. Blood in the Fields also documents the history of Operation Black Widow, the FBI's questionable decade-long effort to dismantle the Nuestra Familia, along with its compromised informants and the turf wars it created with local law enforcement agencies. Written as narrative nonfiction, journalist Reynolds used her unprecedented access to gang members, both in and out of prison, as well as undercover wire taps, depositions, and court documents to weave a gripping, comprehensive history of this brutal criminal organization and the lives it destroyed. Julia Reynolds coproduced and wrote the PBS documentary Nuestra Familia, Our Family, and reported on the northern California gang for more than a decade. She currently works as a staff writer at the Monterey County Herald, and has reported for National Public Radio, the Discovery Channel, The Nation, Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.