I'm Neither Here nor There: Mexicans’ Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty
Patricia Zavella is Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Women’s Work and Chicano Families: Cannery Workers of the Santa Clara Valley and a co-author of Sunbelt Working Mothers: Reconciling Family and Factory. Zavella is a co-editor of Chicana Feminisms: A Critical Reader, Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios, and Women and Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: A Reader all also published by Duke University Press.
I’m Neither Here nor There explores how immigration influences the construction of family, identity, and community among Mexican Americans and migrants from Mexico. Based on long-term ethnographic research, Patricia Zavella describes how poor and working-class Mexican Americans and migrants to California’s central coast struggle for agency amid the region’s deteriorating economic conditions and the rise of racial nativism in the United States. Zavella also examines tensions within the Mexican diaspora based on differences in legal status, generation, gender, sexuality, and language. She proposes “peripheral vision” to describe the sense of displacement and instability felt by Mexican Americans and Mexicans who migrate to the United States as well as by their family members in Mexico.
Drawing on close interactions with Mexicans on both sides of the border, Zavella examines migrant journeys to and within the United States, gendered racialization, and exploitation at workplaces, and the challenges that migrants face in forming and maintaining families. As she demonstrates, the desires of migrants to express their identities publicly and to establish a sense of cultural memory are realized partly through Latin American and Chicano protest music, and Mexican and indigenous folks songs played by musicians and cultural activists.
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