New Directions in Border Research Methodology, Ethics, and Practice
Publication Year: 2013
Each chapter raises methodological and ethical questions relevant to conducting research in transnational contexts, which can frequently be unpredictable or even volatile. The volume addresses the central question of how can scholars work with vulnerable migrant populations along the perilous US–Mexico border and maintain ethical and methodological standards, while also providing useful knowledge to stakeholders? Not only may immigrants be afraid to provide information that could be incriminating, but researchers may also be reluctant to allow their findings to become the basis of harsher law enforcement, unjustly penalize the subjects of their research, and inhibit the formulation of humane and effective immigration policy based on scholarly research.
All of these concerns, which are perfectly legitimate from the social scientists’ point of view, can put researchers into conflict with legal authorities. Contributors acknowledge their quandaries and explain how they have dealt with them. They use specific topics—reproductive health issues and sexually transmitted diseases among immigrant women, a study of undocumented business owners, and the administration of the Mexican Household Survey in Phoenix, among others—to outline research methodology that will be useful for generations of border researchers.
Published by: University of Arizona Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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This volume is a collective effort to grapple with some of the method-ological and ethical dilemmas that have emerged from conducting border research. In 2009–2010, the Border Research Ethics and Methodologies (BREM) Project helped bring together interdisciplinary groups of schol-ars to address the complications emerging from the gathering, use, and ...
Introduction, Anna Ochoa O'leary, Colin M. Deeds, and Scott Whiteford
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With rapidly changing patterns of migration, violence, and boundary en-forcement, border regions are quickly becoming transformed. In the pro-cess, a range of actors are also transformed, among them researchers who then contribute to the reformulation of ideas and practices. This dynamic process reveals new prospects, missed opportunities, and new method-...
Part One: The Big Picture
Chapter One. Vulnerable Immigrant "Subjects" : Definitions, Disparate Power, Dilemmas, and Desired Benefits, Jessie K. Finch and Celestino Fernández
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Over the past few decades, there has been a growing interest in and con-cern with unauthorized immigration as a topic of research in several disci-plines, including but not limited to sociology, political science, economics, psychology, anthropology, history, law, Mexican American studies, and women’s studies. As political, cultural, and economic interests continue ...
Chapter Two. The Good, the Bad, and the ugly: Border Research Collaboration, Kathleen Staudt
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...“The ethical mind ponders the nature of one’s work and the needs and desires of the society in which one lives. This mind conceptualizes how workers can serve purposes beyond self- interest and how citizens can work unselfishly to improve the lot of all. The ethical mind then acts on the With these words, Harvard psychologist and inventor of multiple intel-...
Chapter Three. Dilemmas in Immigration Policy Research, Judith Gans
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Liberal democrats need to find ways to affirm the genuine value that par-ticular communities have for efforts to realize desirable goals in the world as it is constituted now, but they must do so without denying the dangers of these memberships. The greatest threats come from profound political and psychological tendencies to treat such communities as natural, in ways ...
Part Two: The Border as an Unstable Place
Chapter Four. On Shifting Ground: The Conundrums of Participant Observation and Multi-Actor Ethnography in Contemporary Border Research, Rocío Magaña
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That the United States–Mexico border is portrayed as a site of recurrent crises and ongoing lawlessness that requires ever increasing, if slightly changing, intervention, policing, and analysis is of little novelty. Still, many would agree that those very conditions that enable this field to be continuously perceived as broken anew themselves merit analysis. Para-...
Chapter Five. Methodological Challenges and Ethical Concerns of Researching Marginalized and Vulerable Populations: Evidence from Firsthand Experiences of Working with Unauthorized Migrants: Daniel E. Martínez, Jeremy Slack and Prescott Vandervoet
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Being located in the most active U.S. border patrol enforcement sector (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services 2010) has led to a substantial focus on the study of unauthorized migration among a group of scholars at the University of Arizona. The authors of this article were involved in two dif-ferent projects that helped them gain a better understanding of unauthor-...
Chapter Six. Entre Los Mafiosos y La Chota: Ethnography, Drug Trafficking, and Policing in the South Texas-Mexico Borderlands, Santiago Ivan Guerra
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Anthropologists have relied on ethnography as the foundational method-ology for learning about other cultural worlds. But what of anthropologists who study and write about their own communities? How does the ethno-graphic enterprise function for these so- called native anthropologists? In this chapter, I provide an analysis and description of the methodological ...
Chapter Seven. Shaping Public Opinion on Migration in Mexico: The Challenges of Gathering and Proving Information for the National News Media, Manuel Chavez, Scott Whiteford and Silvia Nuñez Garcia
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Mexicans learn about the perils and opportunities of the trip north to the United States, crossing the border, and migrant life from return migrants, songs, government announcements, and the media, especially news-papers, radio, and television. Despite the importance of the media, few studies have systematically examined the context in which journalists and ...
Part Three: Fieldwork among Entrapped Communities
Chapter Eight. Researching Women's Vulnerability and Agency with Regard to Sexually Transmitted Diseases during Migration through Altar, Sonora: Methodological and Etchical Reflections, Katherine Careaga
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In January 2005, I began doctoral studies as a foreign (American) student and Fulbright recipient at El Colegio de Sonora in Mexico. I embarked on this academic adventure after having earned my bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where I had continued to work in border public health at the university, county, and state health ...
Chapter Nine. Reflections on Methodological Challenges in a Study of Immigrant Women and Reproductive Health in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region, Anna Ochoa O'leary, Gloria Ciria Valdez-Gardea, and Azucena Sánchez
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In this chapter, we reflect on the methodological challenges arising from research conducted in the U.S.–Mexico border region in 2008–2009.1 In particular, these emerge from the increased vulnerability of both migrant and immigrant women whose limited access to health care in transit and settlement communities subject them to numerous risks. Such trends ...
Chapter Ten. Women, Migrants, Undocumented Business Owners: Methodological Strategies in Fieldwork with Vulnerable Populations: Erika Cecilia Montoya Zavala
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In the last decade, Arizona has seen an increase in the number of im-migrants moving into the state. Many of these have been undocumented immigrants from Mexico. In response, the state of Arizona has pro-posed a series of anti- immigration policies and laws that create barriers to economic, political, and social integration (O’Leary 2009). Mexican ...
Chapter Eleven. Research on Oppressed Communities, Pat Rubio Goldsmith
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In this essay, I will discuss the ethical issues I encountered in relation to two research projects on Mexican migration and border issues. In the first, I was the co- principal investigator of a project that surveyed a gathering of people that was known in advance to include many unauthorized migrants from Mexico now residing in the United States. This discussion describes ...
Part Four: A Fence on Its Side Is a Bridge
Chapter Twelve. Methodological and Ethical Implications in the Design and Application of the Mexican Household Survey in Phoenix Arizona (EHMPA 2007), Blas Valenzuela Camacho
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Recent literature has argued the emergence of a “new profile” of the mi-gratory phenomenon from Mexico to the United States. This post- IRCA and post- NAFTA migration has been characterized by a diversification of origins and destinations, a unidirectional movement that departs from pre-vious patterns of circular migration, the urban characteristic of the origins, ...
Chapter Thirteen. Lessons for Border Research: The Border Contraceptive Access Study, Jon Amastae, Michele Shedlin, Kari White, Kristine Hopkins, Daniel A. Grossman, and Joseph E. Potter
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The U.S.–Mexico border has become increasingly a focus of and site for research. Interdependent economies, cultures, and natural environments on which a political border is overlaid contain both challenges and stimuli for inhabitants and investigators alike. Many of the topics and methods of our investigations require special sensitivity to the conduct of any project, ...
Chapter Fourteen. Social Research and Reflective Practice in Binational Contexts: Learning from Cross-Cultural Collaboration, Jack Corbett and Elsa Cruz Martínez
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Many of the questions raised in the BREM discussions in effect conceive of the research process as a researcher or researchers acting in relation to subjects and populations. We assess vulnerability (of the population). We consider data access and ownership (vis- à- vis the population). We are concerned about ethical issues (in relation to the population). As we ...
Conclusion. Scott Whiteford, Anna Ochoa O'leary and Colin M. Deeds
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The intent of this concluding chapter is not to summarize but to explore emerging border ethics issues, methodological directions, and policy chal-lenges raised by the chapters of this book. Rapid political and socioeco-nomic change underlines the importance of how research and ethics are intimately interwoven regardless of discipline or research goals, especially ...
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Anna Ochoa O’Leary is an assistant professor in Mexican American studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her doctorate is in cul-tural anthropology, with training in applied anthropology. Currently she codirects the Binational Migration Institute at the University of Arizona, an interdisciplinary association of scholars who focus on how immigration ...
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Page Count: 317
Illustrations: 4 illust, 6 tables
Publication Year: 2013
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth