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Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán

From Local to Transnational Civic Engagement

Xóchitl Bada

Publication Year: 2014

 Chicago is home to the second-largest Mexican immigrant population in the United States, yet the activities of this community have gone relatively unexamined by both the media and academia.  In this groundbreaking new book, Xóchitl Bada takes us inside one of the most vital parts of Chicago’s Mexican immigrant community—its many hometown associations.

Hometown associations (HTAs) consist of immigrants from the same town in Mexico and often begin quite informally, as soccer clubs or prayer groups. As Bada’s work shows, however, HTAs have become a powerful force for change, advocating for Mexican immigrants in the United States while also working to improve living conditions in their communities of origin. Focusing on a group of HTAs founded by immigrants from the state of Michoacán, the book shows how their activism has bridged public and private spheres, mobilizing social reforms in both inner-city Chicago and rural Mexico.

Bringing together ethnography, political theory, and archival research, Bada excavates the surprisingly long history of Chicago’s HTAs, dating back to the 1920s, then traces the emergence of new models of community activism in the twenty-first century. Filled with vivid observations and original interviews, Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán gives voice to an underrepresented community and sheds light on an underexplored form of global activism. 

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

This book follows the challenges and opportunities of Michoacán hometown associations (HTAs) in their efforts to influence the civil societies and governments of two nations—Mexico and the United States. The book is based on formal interviews and conversations with HTA leaders, government officials, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in transnational activities in ...

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pp. xv-xx

This is a story about migrant lives and their relationships to their governments and villages of origin, and I am indebted to all those who allowed me to get close enough to understand their binational struggles. They may not agree with all my interpretations, but I hope that our mutual efforts to bring visibility and recognition for their contributions to Mexico and the United States will eventually lead...

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1. Migrant Generosity and Transnational Civic Engagement

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pp. 1-23

Uptown, Chicago, December 18, 2010. Fifty members of El Rincón de Dolores hometown club have gathered with friends and families for a posada, a traditional Mexican pre-Christmas celebration. In a small party room adjacent to the pancake restaurant of Hugo,1 a former club president, they’re preparing to sing the verses that reenact Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage....

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2. The Transformation of Mexican Migrant Organizations

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pp. 24-52

On June 2, 1928, Mexican presidential nominee José Vasconcelos gave a speech at Jane Addams’s Hull House on Chicago’s Near West Side. Vasconcelos’s appearance was sponsored by the Ignacio Zaragoza mutual aid society.1 The meeting did not attract a large crowd because the play Don Juan Tenorio was being held simultaneously somewhere else. Only fifty people from different mutual aid societies...

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3. Genealogies of Hometown Associations

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pp. 53-80

Previous studies on transnational communities have addressed the multiple civic engagements of Zacatecan hometown federations in Southern California, the transnational lives of Poblano migrants in New York, and the transnational topographies of Oaxacans from San Juan Mixtepec across Mexican-U. S. geographies. These studies offer a clear picture of the different political and geographical...

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4. Migrant Clubs to the Rescue

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pp. 81-107

April 28, 2010, 6:30 p.m. Migrant club leaders take their seats in the conference room at the Mexican consulate in the West Loop neighborhood in Chicago. The event is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., but organizers decide to wait a little longer to accommodate those stuck in traffic; they expect 120 leaders from Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The meeting has been organized by the Chicago office of the...

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5. Participatory Planning across Borders

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pp. 108-135

On a sultry summer morning in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood in 2010, the conference room at Casa Michoacán is bustling. The governor of Michoacán is about to inaugurate the meeting of the Project Evaluation and Migrant Affairs Committee (COVAM),1 and the media wants to capture the moment. This is the first time that this committee has met outside of Morelia, and migrant hometown...

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6. Expanding Agendas and Building Transnational Coalitions

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pp. 136-162

In 2011, more than a decade after the creation of the Federation of Michoacán Clubs in Illinois (FEDECMI), Casa Michoacán bustles with activity, reflecting its motto: “Opening Borders, Uniting Communities.” In February, it hosted a meeting with Linda Machuca, one of the first Ecuadoran migrants to win a seat in Ecuador’s congress representing migrants living in North America. Machuca...


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pp. 163-186


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pp. 187-210


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pp. 211-220

About the Author

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pp. 221-222

E-ISBN-13: 9780813564944
E-ISBN-10: 0813564948
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813564937
Print-ISBN-10: 081356493X

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 2 figures and 3 tables
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 878263252
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Mexican Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Societies, etc.
  • Mexican Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Politics and government.
  • Mexican Americans -- Social networks -- Illinois -- Chicago.
  • Social participation -- Illinois -- Chicago.
  • Political participation -- Illinois -- Chicago.
  • Chicago (Ill.) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Michoacán de Ocampo (Mexico) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Transnationalism.
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