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The Xaripu Community across Borders

Labor Migration, Community, and Family

Manuel Barajas

Publication Year: 2009

During the past three decades there have been many studies of transnational migration. Most of the scholarship has focused on one side of the border, one area of labor incorporation, one generation of migrants, and one gender. In this path-breaking book, Manuel Barajas presents the first cross-national, comparative study to examine a Mexican-origin community’s experience with international migration and transnationalism. He presents an extended case study of the Xaripu community, with home bases in both Xaripu, Michoacán, and Stockton, California, and elaborates how various forms of colonialism, institutional biases, and emergent forms of domination have shaped Xaripu labor migration, community formation, and family experiences across the Mexican/U.S. border for over a century. Of special interest are Barajas’s formal and informal interviews within the community, his examination of oral histories, and his participant observation in several locations. Barajas asks, What historical events have shaped the Xaripus’ migration experiences? How have Xaripus been incorporated into the U.S. labor market? How have national inequalities affected their ability to form a community across borders? And how have migration, settlement, and employment experiences affected the family, especially gender relationships, on both sides of the border?

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Cover Art

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Front Matter

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I want to recognize the people who made the completion of this book possible. Alfredo Mirand

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1 Introduction: Labor Migration, Community, and Family across Borders

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pp. 1-26

On December 16, 2005, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 4437, which threatened to further militarize the southern border and criminalize as felons undocumented immigrants and those assisting them in any way (Nevins 2002, 61–62, 68–69, 74, 78). Like Martin Luther King a generation ago, the Roman Catholic cardinal Roger Mahony instructed his priests to disobey HR 4437 if it became ...

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2 Theoretical Perspectives on Labor Migration

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pp. 27-62

Why did Xaripus begin to leave Mexico and come to el norte when they did? Why did they take almost two-thirds of a century after the first pioneering migrants to settle on a more permanent basis in the United States? Why do later generations maintain active and meaningful social ties with the homeland?2 And what changes have these Xaripus experienced by living in between different social worlds? This chapter addresses these basic questions by reviewing three major theoretical ...

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3 A Social-Historical Context of Xaripu’s Land Displacement and Labor Migration Experience

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pp. 63-98

Xaripu, my ancestral pueblo, has changed tremendously over the centuries: from a Purépecha center to a “Mexican” pueblo. My grandfather Elias, during one of our last visits before he passed away in October 1991, told me, Mi abuela era...

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4 The Logic of Colonialism in Modern Labor Relations

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pp. 99-144

For two-thirds of the twentieth century Xaripus were recruited as colonial labor to the United States.1 After the Bracero Program ended in the mid-1960s, they continued to labor under colonial conditions in the agricultural fields, where they remained highly exploited, underpaid, and without access to labor rights.2 In spite of their residential status and semipermanent settlement in the United States, retiradas/os and mayores ...

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5 Haciendo Comunidad across Borders

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pp. 145-181

Xaripu norte

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6 The Family across Borders

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pp. 183-212

This chapter explores the gaps in perception and practice of gender equality across borders and addresses the question: What contributes to the perception, as articulated by Rita above, that men are more machista in Mexico and women more liberal in the United States? To frame this exploration, I first review and assess the dominant scholarly view on the ...

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7 A Pueblo’s Search for Empowerment across Borders

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pp. 213-222

In the twenty-first century, Indo American people, including Mexican- origin, are the nation’s fastest growing population—from 6.4 percent in 1980 to 15.1 percent in 2008 (US Bureau of the Census 2008a)1—and are among the poorest and most socially marginalized racial/ ethnic groups in the United States (Almaguer 1994, 212).2 In the context of globalization ...


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pp. 223-232


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pp. 233-275

Works Cited

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pp. 277-308


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pp. 309-323

E-ISBN-13: 9780268075668
E-ISBN-10: 0268075662
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268022129
Print-ISBN-10: 0268022127

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2009