Project I: Ethnography of Mexican Yarderos in Chicago
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Research Phase: July 2012-November 2013
Summary: This project documented the everyday lives of Mexican, working-class immigrants who despite leaving their land behind, struggling to find work, and facing class and color discrimination for being from a working class background, —found a home in Mexican Chicago. This study is based on sixteen months of ethnographic research performing participant observation with two lawn care service companies. I utilize Border Theory as a critical framework to guide the collection of ethnographic materials, my interpretation of events, and my cultural analysis of the intersections between class, labor, and color among this working class population.
Photo: Taken by the author, August 2012
Project II: The Rise of Transborder Mexico
Location: Transborder Mexico (Chicago, Illinois)
Summary: This project is based on in-depth interviews and participant-observation among documented and undocumented Mexican immigrants that have migrated to the Midwest between the 1980-2016. This subject population includes first and second generation immigrants. The project utilizes transborder theory as an interpretative framework to guide the collection of ethnographic materials, analysis of events, and the cultural exploration of the transborder experience of Mexicans in the Midwest region.
Broadly defined a transborder framework is multidimensional, nonlinear, dynamic, and at times dialectical. Mexican Migrants inhabit the “transborder” which as is co-production of neoliberalism and new imperialism expressed through capital. This transborder theoretical framework and theory help people and scholars avoid conceptual dichotomies in the production of knowledge. This means for example that a transborder perspective destabilizes and critically examines categories such as “home” vis-à-vis “foreign”; “Mexican” vis-à-vis “American” or the most common “citizen” vis-à-vis “non-citizen.” Transborder is about transforming culture but also about encountering as well as avoiding the power of the modern state and civil society.
Photo credit: Taken by author, May 2013
Project III: Migration as Premature Death: Latina/o Cancer Patients
My third line of research further examines the relationship between capitalism and the migrant body. More specifically, I plan to examine how Mexican working-class people experience health outcomes and the intensification of illness through the process of migration, specifically in relation to cancer in the United States. In the summer of 2019, I will carry out a pilot project and interview Latinos/as undergoing cancer treatment, the families of these patients, as well as their care practitioners, in order to holistically understand the cultural specificity of being a Latina/o cancer patient and survivor.