Transnational Struggles: Policy, Gender, and Family Life on the Texas-Mexico Border

Transnational Struggles: Policy, Gender, and Family Life on the Texas-Mexico Border

Transnational Struggles: Policy, Gender, and Family Life on the Texas-Mexico Border

Transnational Struggles: Policy, Gender, and Family Life on the Texas-Mexico Border

Synopsis

Bustamante provides a rare insight of the border as an entire transnational social field, with a similar racial and ethnic composition. He finds a borderlands region patterned by political oppression and gender inequality. This oppressive situation and the lack of access to institutional resources entice families to seek and use resources provided by Mexican relatives across the border. This salient issue places transnational engagement as a strategy based on available options, not a preferred choice. Therefore, transnationalism is an approach that many border immigrants would like to avoid. Finally, Steven Gold's definition of transnational engagement is employed to theoretically capture family life shaped by numerous external conditions that transcend national borders.

Excerpt

Mexican immigration to the U.S. has been widely researched and its contribution to contemporary international immigration scholarship is well documented (e.g. Bustamante 1997; Cornelius 1992; Durand, Massey, and Parrado 1999). In examining the body of previous research on the international migration patterns of Mexican groups and communities, two distinct interpretive models emerge: a settler approach focusing on the movement and relocation of people from one place to another — implying permanent settlement; and a sojourner approach focusing on the migratory, but temporary, movement of people across and between borders (Cornelius 1992). Much of the scholarship which employs the settler approach, for instance, has been associated with the highly contested assimilation model. According to Park (2005), this model is compromised by its assumptions regarding societal expectations that induce “the immigrant [to] readily take over the language, manners, the social ritual, and outward forms of his adopted country” (Pp. 34). Other approaches have attempted to develop an understanding of the settlement process that goes far beyond the limitations of traditional assimilation studies. These other models include the bumpy-line approach (Gans 1992), the neo-assimilation approach (Alba and Nee 2003), and the segmented assimilation approach (Portes and Zhou 1993). On the other hand, sojourning aims to describe and characterize the circular and temporary movement of people across borders (Siu 1952: 34). This last . . .

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