Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants

By Robert Courtney Smith | Go to book overview

Conclusions and Recommendations

I have studied transnational life by “going where the ducks are”—by intensively studying one transnational community for a decade and a half. In more academic language, I have “sampled on the dependent variable” by focusing on a community that exhibits a great deal of transnational life. I have also attempted to do what Howard Becker says good qualitative research should: to closely follow the action for a long time, tell stories accurately, and examine more and not less of the thing under study.1 By analyzing three substantive themes—politics, gender, and the second generation—I trace the process of migration as it leads to and then coexists with settlement and assimilation.

This book offers a close look at people attempting to live meaningful, dignified lives under difficult circumstances, and largely succeeding. Firstgeneration Ticuanense men and women are justifiably proud of all they have been able to accomplish for el pueblo. And both the first and second generations have negotiated hard and often conflicting choices regarding gender, race, and ethnicity in the United States and Mexico. Teen migrants and cholos, who have faced the most difficult circumstances considered here, have also created meaningful lives in a particular niche in American and Mexican society, though with sometimes negative results for themselves and others—an outcome I consider unnecessary and changeable.

The search for recognition and respect is an impetus common to all three spheres of transnational life analyzed in this book. The Committee seeks recognition for its efforts on behalf of Ticuani. Under the old ways of the religious cargo system, their sacrifices would have given them both recognition and power. But even this system was always refracted through local power politics, especially the cacique system. Had the Committee members stayed in Ticuani and worked as hard for the community as they have done

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