This essay examines the role of arts and culture in processes of identity formation and collective action among day laborers in the United States. Focusing on the performance of “The Ballad of Industry,” a corrido (narrative poem set to music) that was written by a day laborer following an immigration raid at an informal hiring site in southern California, the essay explores how day laborers’ Popular Education praxis has been mobilized through music to build worker solidarity in the defense of hiring sites as a form of urban commons. It argues that the growing repertoire of day laborer songs functions as an interpretive medium through which events and subjectivities can be rendered intelligible and capable of galvanizing day laborer activism.
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1 April 2018
Nik Theodore; The Ballad of Industry: Recuperating Alienated Identities through Day Laborers’ Song. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2018; 117 (2): 410–419. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-4374922
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