We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

(Be)laboring Childhoods in Postville, Iowa

From: Anthropological Quarterly
Volume 86, Number 3, Summer 2013
pp. 851-889 | 10.1353/anq.2013.0044



By examining a flagrant case of “child” migrant labor in a meatpacking facility, this article addresses the cultural politics of global childhood. Conflicting constructions of childhood first emerged informally within kin and community networks. Community-based constructions were later overshadowed and delimited in a child labor trial that took place two years after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) raided Agriprocessors, the town’s major employer. I trace the shifting contours of cultural and legal battles over childhood and forms of citizenship that, in microcosm, speak to on-going debates over immigration and economic policies tying the United States to Guatemala.

During a year of political campaigning, the Guatemalan president is assailed by reporters who hurl questions at him asking why he thinks he deserves to be re-elected. “You failed to keep your promise about improving the economy,” one reporter accused. The president, looking shocked and offended, replies, “What do you mean!?! Since I took office the economy has grown; now everyone has a job. Look!” he exclaimed, indicating a niño de la calle (street child) busily washing a parked car nearby. (Guatemalan political satire, originally circulated via a major Guatemalan national newspaper)

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.