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Mi corazoncito se quería quedar: everyday transnationalism among undocumented Mexican migrants in the USA and their kin in Mexico

Echegoyen Nava, G. M. (2012) Mi corazoncito se quería quedar: everyday transnationalism among undocumented Mexican migrants in the USA and their kin in Mexico. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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This thesis reports on an ethnographic investigation of the everyday lives of Mexican transnational families living in the USA and Mexico. It gives an account of how migrants and their families who stayed behind experienced and coped with separations and how they negotiated, maintained and continually redefined their family relationships and emotional exchanges. I look at, compare and analyse the experiences of undocumented migrants and non-migrants from both a small town and from a city, for whom migration was, respectively, a long-standing tradition or a fairly recent way of life. The observations herein discussed draw from more than seven months of multi sited participant observation and interview research in two locations in the USA − in Texas and California − as well as in both a small town and two cities in Mexico from where the immigrant cohorts originated (and to where some migrants occasionally returned). The participants were ‘snowballed’ from the families of two cohorts of first-generation undocumented Mexican migrants in these locations. These cohorts differed mainly in their demographic origin (rural/urban), social class (working-class/middle-class origins in Mexico), level of education (basic/high school and higher) and modes of crossing (entry without inspection/visa overstayers). The social and cultural differences between the participants resulted in contrasting self-perceptions and meanings given to their everyday lived experiences as undocumented / ‘illegal’ migrants, to the efforts made for their loved ones, to their identities as ‘camouflaged’ migrants or as people living ‘ambivalent loyalties’. The above named topics are analysed in the framework of transnational family life taking into account the interplay of gender relations, demographic origin, social class, level of education, use of social networks and undocumented status.

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