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Intimate Migrations: Gender, Family, and Illegality among Transnational Mexicans
by:Deborah A. Boehm
“With an ethnographer’s eye for detail, Boehm shows us the hopes, dreams, frustrations, tensions, divisions, and enduring qualities of lives among families connected and split by the U.S.-Mexico border. Intimate Migrations puts a human face on the reasons why people migrate, changing gender relations, and how children experience these dynamic and fluid...
“With an ethnographer’s eye for detail, Boehm shows us the hopes, dreams, frustrations, tensions, divisions, and enduring qualities of lives among families connected and split by the U.S.-Mexico border. Intimate Migrations puts a human face on the reasons why people migrate, changing gender relations, and how children experience these dynamic and fluid processes, all of which are subject to increasingly restrictionist U.S. immigration laws. . . . A must read for anyone interested in understanding our complex, transnational world.”—Leo Chavez, UC IrvineIn her research with transnational Mexicans, Deborah A. Boehm has often asked individuals: if there were no barriers to your movement between Mexico and the United States, where would you choose to live? Almost always, they desire the freedom to “come and go.” Yet the barriers preventing such movement are many. Because of rigid U.S. immigration policies, Mexican immigrants often find themselves living long distances from family members and unable to easily cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Transnational Mexicans experience what Boehm calls “intimate migrations,” flows that both shape and are structured by gendered and familial actions and interactions, but are always defined by the presence of the U.S. state. By showing how intimate relations direct migration, and by looking at kin and gender relationships through the lens of “illegality,” Boehm sheds new light on the study of gender and kinship, as well as understandings of the state and transnational migration.Deborah A. Boehm is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies and a faculty associate in the Gender, Race, and Identity Studies program at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is co-editor of Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth, and Migration in Global Perspective.
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