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Paperback 184 pp.
10 photos, 2 linecuts, 5.5" x 8.25"



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Imprint: OUP US

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Labor and Legality

An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network

Ruth Gomberg-Munoz

Series : Issues of Globalization:Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology

Labor and Legality: Life in a Mexican Immigrant Network is an ethnography of undocumented immigrants who work as busboys at a Chicago-area restaurant. Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz introduces readers to the Lions, ten friends from Mexico committed to improving their fortunes and the lives of their families. Set in and around "Il Vino," a restaurant that could stand in for many places that employ undocumented workers, Labor and Legality reveals the faces behind the war being waged over "illegal aliens" in America. Gomberg-Muñoz focuses on how undocumented workers develop a wide range of social strategies to cultivate financial security, nurture emotional well-being, and promote their dignity and self-esteem. She also reviews the political and historical circumstances of undocumented migration, with an emphasis on post-1970 socioeconomic and political conditions in the United States and Mexico.

Labor and Legality is one of several volumes in the Issues of Globalization: Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology series, which examines the experiences of individual communities in our contemporary world. Each volume offers a brief and engaging exploration of a particular issue arising from globalization and its cultural, political, and economic effects on certain peoples or groups. Ideal for introductory anthropology courses-and as supplements for a variety of upper-level courses-these texts seamlessly combine portraits of an interconnected and globalized world with narratives that emphasize the agency of their subjects.

Readership : Ungraduate courses in Introduction to Anthropology/Cultural Anthropology (freshman/sophomore), and upper level courses in Latin American/Latino Studies, as well as race studies, labor, immigration, globalization, etc.

1. Meet the Lions
A Dog's Life: Luis
I Want Respect at My Job: Rene
Meet the Lions
The Lions
Il Vino Buono
What Does a Busboy Do?
How Do The Lions Compare to Other Groups of Workers?
2. Why is There Undocumented Migration?
Migration in the mid-20th century: Papa Juan's Story
An Anthropology of Mexican Labor Migration to the U.S.
The Beginnings of Borders in North America
The Seeds of Globalization
The Roots Take Hold: The Breadbasket and the Bracero Program
Reaping the Harvest: the Political Production of "Illegal Immigration"
Politics of Marginalization
Politics of Labor Reproduction
3. Jumping and Adjusting to Life Under the Radar
Migration: Chuy's Story
Life in Leon
Family Strategies
The Price of Crossing
Life Under the Radar: Papers
Life Under the Radar: Getting Adjusted
Changing Ideas of Home: Return Migration and Return-Return Migration
4. Muy Unidos: Friends, Networks, and households
Having Friends Makes Things Easier: Alejandro
Utilizing a Social Network: Finding Work
Money and Respect: Assessing Jobs and Bosses
Getting Paid and Managing Money
Utilizing a Social Network: Households
5. Echandole Ganas: Working Hard
A Little Extra: Roberto
Extra Work, Flexible Work
A Hypothetical Day in the Work Life of an Il Vino Busboy
Learning the Ropes: Humor and Hazing
Working as a Team
Covering and Criticizing: Protecting the Group and Enforcing the Norms
Consent and Contradiction
6. Los Numero Uno: Identity, Dignity, and Esteem
They're good people: Lalo
Race, Class, and Illegality: Structural Dimensions of Mexican Immigrant Identity
The Dignity of Hard Work
On the Margins of the "American Dream"
Gendered Identity and the Honor of Family Men
7. Illegals and Criminals: Racism, Nationalism, and the Criminalization of Low-Wage Labor
We wetbacks are people who like to work: Leonardo
Myths and Realities
Illegals and Criminals
Toward an Anti-Nationalist, Anti-Racist Perspective on Immigration
Appendix: Interview Outline
Student Resource Guide

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has been published in American Anthropologist and the Journal for Latino-Latin American Studies.

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