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A Place to Be

Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican Immigrants in Florida's New Destinations

Edited by Philip J. Williams, Timothy J. Steigenga, and Manuel A. Vßsquez

Publication Year: 2009

A Place to Be is the first book to explore migration dynamics and community settlement among Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican immigrants in America's new South. The book adopts a fresh perspective to explore patterns of settlement in Florida, including the outlying areas of Miami and beyond. The stellar contributors from Latin America and the United States address the challenges faced by Latino immigrants, their cultural and religious practices, as well as the strategies used, as they move into areas experiencing recent large-scale immigration.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-ix

This book is the product of a collaborative transnational research project that grew out of a workshop held at the University of Florida in 2001. A planning grant from the Ford Foundation enabled us to hold of a series of workshops throughout 2002 and 2003 to discuss the project’s goals, theoretical issues, and research design and methodologies. In addition to our core team members, we are grateful to a number of scholars who participated in these workshops...

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1: Introduction: Understanding Transnationalism, Collective Mobilization, and Lived Religion in New Immigrant Destinations

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pp. 1-29

This book explores processes of identity and community formation among Mexican, Guatemalan, and Brazilian immigrants in the “non-conventional destinations” of Immokalee, Jupiter, Pompano Beach, and Deerfield Beach in South Florida. The volume brings together the contributions of scholars from Latin America and the United States who, for the last four years, have engaged in an integrated, transnational research project to analyze systematically the challenges that these immigrant groups face...

Part One: Transnational Lives: Networks, Families, and Solidarities across Borders

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2: Beyond Homo Anomicus: Interpersonal Networks, Space, and Religion among Brazilians in Broward County

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pp. 33-56

Scholars of immigration, such as Maxine Margolis, Teresa Sales, and Ana Cristina Martes, have long documented the fact that Brazilians abroad consistently complain about the lack of community and collective solidarity among themselves.1 Margolis, for instance, found a pervasive “ideology of disunity” among Brazilians in New York. She writes...

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3: From Jacaltenango to Jupiter: Negotiating the Concept of “Family” through Transnational Space and Time

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pp. 57-79

This chapter argues that “family” is a key concept for understanding the life of the Guatemalan immigrant community living in Jupiter, Florida. Family-related necessities serve as the primary motor of emigration. Preoccupation with the family is the principle axis in the hearts, minds, and daily lives of Jupiter’s immigrants. The strength of family ties are such that they allow immigrants to accept and tolerate the many sacrifices associated with daily living in a foreign and often hostile community. ...

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4: Solidarities among Mexican Immigrants in Immokalee

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pp. 80-99

In this chapter we analyze the varied forms of solidarity1 that are constructed among mobile populations of peasant, mestizo, and indigenous Mexican immigrants in Immokalee, Florida.2 Our intention is to elucidate the spontaneous, informal, and more formal elements that these diverse groups utilize to form bonds of solidarity across national, cultural, and religious borders.3 ...

Part Two: Collective Mobilization and Empowerment

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5: Transnationalism and Collective Action among Guatemalan and Mexican Immigrants in Two Florida Communities

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pp. 103-127

In his examination of the labor struggle waged by Mayan immigrants in a Morganton, North Carolina, poultry plant, historian Leon Fink describes both a juxtaposition and a collision between the forces of globalization and community. As Fink explains, “In ways that recall their nineteenth century immigrant predecessors, the émigré Mayan workers ‘use’ community to at once defend themselves against employer exploitation and to advance the interests of their friends and families across international borders.”1

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6: Immigrant Regime of Production: The State, Political Mobilization, and Religious and Business Networks among Brazilians in South Florida

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pp. 128-148

In this chapter, I use the concept of immigrant regime of production to understand the political economy of Brazilian immigration to the United States. In particular, drawing from research among Brazilians in South Florida, I explore how the interaction between, on the one hand, the demands and needs of the Brazilian and American state apparatuses and, on the other, the “micro-physics” of immigrant networks facilitates the formation of an abundant, malleable, and cheap transnational labor force. ...

Part Three: Identities and Lived Religion

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7: Lived Religion and a Sense of Home: The Ambiguities of Transnational Identity among Jacaltecos in Jupiter

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pp. 151-169

One of the initial goals of this project was to understand the impact that various forms of religious transnationalism have on the formation or continuation of collective identities among immigrants in South Florida. In turn, we hoped to assess how such identities might foster and/or hinder civic participation among immigrants in the public sphere. ...

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8: Looking for Lived Religion in Immokalee

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pp. 170-189

Our research in Immokalee, Florida, was based on the assumption that religion would be highly salient for Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants. As discussed in chapter 1, the notion of the saliency of religion among immigrants is well established in the literature on religion and immigration in traditional gateway cities. Contrary to secularization theories that anticipated the privatization and marginalization of religion in modern societies, Stephen Warner argues that immigrants’ “religious identities often (but not always) mean more to them away from home, in their diaspora, than they did before.”1 ...

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9: Brazilian and Mexican Women: Interacting with God in Florida

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pp. 190-208

This chapter analyzes the relationship between lived religion, gender, and migration in South Florida. Few studies examine this tripartite relationship,1 as analyses of female migration normally emphasize social processes related to labor markets.2 Even those studies that explore changes in gender roles, conceptions of femininity and masculinity, and family life that result from the process of migration tend to privilege the economic variable and ignore religion altogether. ...

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10: A Place to Be: New and Old Geographies of Latin American Migration in Florida and Beyond

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pp. 209-226

The key concepts that frame the chapters in this volume, transnationalism, collective mobilization, and lived religion, represent both empirical subjects of investigation and critical analytical tools for understanding and interpreting the dynamics of immigrant life in new destinations. The preceding chapters provide ample empirical evidence and measures of transnationalism, mobilization, and lived religion in each of the cases we have studied. ...


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pp. 227-229


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pp. 231-238

E-ISBN-13: 9780813546988
E-ISBN-10: 0813546982
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813544922
Print-ISBN-10: 0813544920

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 318675752
MUSE Marc Record: Download for A Place to Be

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Subject Headings

  • Latin Americans -- Florida -- Religion -- Congresses.
  • Transnationalism -- Congresses.
  • Latin Americans -- Florida -- Social conditions -- Congresses.
  • Florida -- Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects -- Congresses.
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