“American” Abjection “Chicanos,” Gangs, and Mexican/Migrant Transnationality in Chicago

De Genova, Nicholas. 2008. “American” Abjection “Chicanos,” Gangs, and Mexican/Migrant Transnationality in Chicago. Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 33(2), pp. 141-174. ISSN 0005-2604 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Crime and street violence often evoke racialized discourses about urban space. In this ethnographic research in Chicago, however, the disdain that many Mexican migrants articulated about street gangs principally concerned issues internal to the Mexican/Chicano community, notably a profound ambivalence about U.S.-born Mexicans and a highly contradictory discourse on the inauthenticity of "Chicanos." Given the intimate relations between Mexican migrants and U.S.-born Mexicans in Chicago, the migrants' disavowal of gangs was preeminently a discourse about their own children and social reproduction. "Gangs" were the premier optic by which Mexican migrants could produce a critical difference between their own "Mexican"-ness, which they wanted to see reproduced in their children, and the debased condition deflected onto an unsettlingly intimate Other, namely Chicanos, whose perceived pathologies they sought to repudiate. These discourses figured Chicanos—in effect, Mexican migrants' own children—as a pivotal link in the fraught nexus between Mexicanness, as a racialized transnationality within the space of the U.S. nation-state, and the degraded status of U.S. "minority" associated with African American Blackness.

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Date Deposited:

27 Sep 2013 10:39

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:53

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