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Citizenship Excess

Latino/as, Media, and the Nation

Hector Amaya

Publication Year: 2013

“Drawing on the Athenian tradition of ‘wielding citizenship as a weapon to defend a contingently defined polis,’ Hector Amaya has crafted an elegant and sophisticated analysis of the contemporary policies designed to contain and criminalize Latina/os.  Citizenship Excess demonstrates that he is one of the leading Latina/o Media Scholars today.”
 —Angharad N. Valdivia, General Editor of the International Encyclopedia of Media Studies and author of Latina/os
Drawing on contemporary conflicts between Latino/as and anti-immigrant forces, Citizenship Excess illustrates the limitations of liberalism as expressed through U.S. media channels. Inspired by Latin American critical scholarship on the “coloniality of power,” Amaya demonstrates that nativists use the privileges associated with citizenship to accumulate power.  That power is deployed to aggressively shape politics, culture, and the law, effectively undermining Latino/as who are marked by the ethno-racial and linguistic difference that nativists love to hate. Yet these social characteristics present crucial challenges to the political, legal, and cultural practices that define citizenship.
Amaya examines the role of ethnicity and language in shaping the mediated public sphere through cases ranging from the participation of Latino/as in the Iraqi war and pro-immigration reform marches to labor laws restricting Latino/a participation in English-language media and news coverage of undocumented immigrant detention centers. Citizenship Excess demonstrates that the evolution of the idea of citizenship in the United States and the political and cultural practices that define it are intricately intertwined with nativism.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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p. v-v

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-ix

I have not had a usable citizenship for the past couple of decades. I have been living in the United States with a Mexican passport. I moved away from Mexico, my country of birth, in 1992 and have lived a life that I did not plan. I could not have planned it. In Navojoa, the small Mexican northern city ...

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Introduction: Latinas/os and Citizenship Excess

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pp. 1-37

In April 2010, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed what at the time many observers considered the toughest immigration bill in the nation at a state level (Archibold 2010). The law ordered immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and required police to question any detainees that they believed might be in the United States ...

Part I Defending the Walls

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1. Toward a Latino Critique of Public Sphere Theory

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pp. 41-67

There is a paradox that defines Latino political and cultural power. No other ethno-racial minority group has as much access to the mediated public sphere as Latinas/os, and yet Latino underrepresentation in the field of power is substantive. Paul Taylor, the director of the Pew Hispanic Center, offers the metaphor, “Latinas/os have ...

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2. Nativism and the 2006 Pro-Immigration Reform Rallies

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pp. 68-94

In 2006, millions of Latinas/os and supporters took to the streets demanding reforms to immigration law that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents. Although the marches were extremely successful, the pro-immigration reform movement (PRM) did not succeed. Instead of ...

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3. Hutto: Staging Transnational Justice Claims in the Time of Coloniality

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pp. 95-122

In the aftermath of the pro-immigration reform rallies of 2006, we witnessed an array of measures taken by city, state, and federal officials aimed at curtailing the immigration problem. The Sensenbrenner Act, which further criminalized behavior associated with undocumented labor, remained in the Republican ...

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4. English- and Spanish-Language Media

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pp. 123-157

Latinas/os have never owned much media in the United States. Today, although Latinas/os are 15 percent of the population and their buying power stands at roughly $1 trillion, lack of ownership persists. As Catherine Sandoval (2005 – 2006), Kent Wilkinson (2009), and Leonard Baynes (2009) have noted, Latinas/os own ...

Part II Conditions of Inclusion

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5. Labor and the Legal Structuring of Media Industries in the Case of Ugly Betty (ABC, 2006)

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pp. 161-189

Ethnonationalisms are f_lexible and can welcome others under certain conditions. Processes of inclusion are political but also cultural, and media participates by giving a few members of society the ability to con-struct the narratives that matter to the entire polis. This chapter ref_lects on processes of cultural inclusion by investigating the show Ugly Betty ...

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6. Mediating Belonging, Inclusion, and Death

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pp. 190-220

In chapter 5, I engaged with the problem of inclusion and explored it in relation to media industries and labor. As that chapter shows, the inclusion of noncitizen Latinas/os in English-language media is possible only if the fictional narrative rendering of Latinas/os is profitable. As I showed in other chapters, it is much ...

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Conclusion: The Ethics of Nation

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pp. 221-230

Timarchus was unfortunate. He, with Demosthenes, had accused Aeschines of treason but underestimated Aeschines’s viciousness. In one of the most famous speeches by an Athenian citizen, Aeschines destroyed Timarchus’s character and proved that Timarchus’s youthful indiscretions had broken the law and thus ...


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pp. 231-242


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pp. 243-262


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pp. 263-274

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About the Author

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p. 275-275

Hector Amaya is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia who specializes in North American transnationalism, includ-ing Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. He writes on the cultural pro-duction of political identities and the complex manner in which cultural ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814723838
E-ISBN-10: 0814708455
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814708453
Print-ISBN-10: 0814708455

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013