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Jalos, USA

Transnational Community and Identity

Alfredo Mirandé

Publication Year: 2014

In Jalos, USA, Alfredo Mirandé explores migration between the Mexican town of Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, and Turlock, California, and shows how migrants retain a primal identity with their community of origin. The study examines how family, gender, courtship, religion, and culture promote a Mexicanized version of the “American Dream” for la gente de Jalos. After introducing traditional theories of migration and describing a distinctly circular migration pattern between Jalos and Turlock, Mirandé introduces a model of transnationalism. Residents move freely back and forth across the border, often at great risk, adopting a transnational village identity that transcends both the border and conventional national or state identities. Mirandé’s findings are based on participant observation, ethnographic field research, and captivating in-depth personal interviews conducted on both sides of the border with a wide range of respondents. To include multiple perspectives, Mirandé conducts focus group interviews with youth in Jalos and Turlock, as well as interviews with priests and social service providers. Together, these data provide both a rich account of experiences as well as assessments of courtship practices and problems faced by contemporary migrants. Jalos, USA is written in an accessible style that appeals to students and scholars of Latino and migration studies, policy makers, and laypersons interested in immigration, the border, and transnational migration.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This study began nearly a decade ago, after I obtained a UC Mexus– CONACYT grant to study transnational migration to the United States and its impact on gender, masculinity, and identity. A special thanks to UC Mexus (the University of California Institute for...

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Chapter One: Jalostotitlán and Turlock: Introduction

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pp. 1-18

The speaker is Elvia Ramírez, a young teacher in her mid-twenties in Turlock, California, referring to yearly fiestas in Jalostotitlán (Jalos). Her words are one expression of the pride and deep connection to Jalos that is a main focus of this book. Jalos, USA is about transnational identity and...

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Chapter Two: Las Fiestas: “Volver, Volver, Volver”

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pp. 19-38

The speaker is Lola Olmedo, a long-time resident of Turlock, commenting that to “volver”—to return to what one loves—is the dream of every young man from Jalos who has migrated. He wants to return home for the fiestas and impress everyone by showing how well...

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Chapter Three: Courtship and Marriage: “Dando la Serenata”

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pp. 39-64

Juan Pérez, who works at a local dairy in Turlock, described his Jalos courtship with his future wife, Socorro, as muy bonito (very lovely). He was visiting Jalos during a fiesta, crossing the plaza on an errand for his mother one evening, when he saw her: “That time, ...

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Chapter Four: “El Rey”: Changing Conceptions of Ranchero Masculinity

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pp. 65-84

“Mexican machismo and its vulgar folklore have long been of interest to students of Mexican culture. . . . The folklore of machismo symbolically conflates class and gender by shifting the point of conflict from the public domain of the former to the domestic domain...

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Chapter Five: “¡El Que Quiere Puede!” (He Who Wants to, Can!): Early Turlock Settlers

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pp. 85-104

The speaker is Juan (“Cheno”) González, introduced earlier, a member of one of the first families from Jalos to settle in Turlock. Cheno has been extremely successful. He has literally lived out the American Dream, and his comments capture a prevalent ideology among Jalos...

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Chapter Six: Jalos, USA

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pp. 105-130

“I don’t think you feel the shock of going to a different type of city [in going from Jalos to Turlock]. . . . Here [Turlock] . . . you kind of feel comfortable in your zone. It’s almost like you are moving from one community to another [in Mexico].” The speaker is Socorro...

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Chapter Seven: Toribio Romo: “El Padre Pollero” (The Holy Coyote)

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pp. 131-162

A Dallas newspaper a few years ago ran a story that included a migrant’s description of a vision in the desert:
Luciano González López, 45, who returned not long ago to his hometown of Teocaltiche from Denver, . . . [said that] he and two other men were on their way to Colorado in search of work, when...

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Chapter Eight: A Theory of Transnational Identity

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pp. 163-196

Armando López, a homeopathic doctor and one of the middle López children, describes his youngest sister, Socorro, in an admiring tone. “She likes mariachi music, she likes banda. She likes going to Mexican concerts. She is very proud, you know. When she graduated from college, she wore the Mexican flag. She speaks Spanish...


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pp. 197-204


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pp. 205-216


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pp. 217-221

About the Author, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780268086947
E-ISBN-10: 026808694X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268035327
Print-ISBN-10: 0268035326

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: NA
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 880236315
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Jalos, USA

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Jalostotitlán (Mexico) -- Relations -- Texas -- Turlock.
  • Turlock (Calif.) -- Relations -- Mexico -- Jalostotitlán.
  • Jalostotitlán (Mexico) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Turlock (Calif.) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Mexicans -- California -- Turlock -- Social conditions.
  • Jalostotitlán (Mexico) -- Social conditions.
  • Turlock (Calif.) -- Social conditions.
  • Transnationalism -- Case studies.
  • Group identity -- Case studies.
  • Community life -- Case studies.
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