1st Edition

Building Citizenship from Below Precarity, Migration, and Agency

Edited By Marcel Paret, Shannon Gleeson Copyright 2017
    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    Focusing on what can be referred to as the ‘precarity-agency-migration nexus’, this comprehensive volume leverages the political, economic, and social dynamics of migration to better understand both deepening inequality and popular resistance. Drawing on rich ethnographic and interview-based studies of the United States and Latin America, the authors show how migrants are navigating and challenging conditions of insecurity and structures of power. Detailed case studies illuminate collective survival strategies along the migrant trail, efforts by nannies and dairy workers in the northeast United States to assert dignity and avoid deportation, strategies of reintegration used by deportees in Guatemala and Mexico, and grassroots organizing and public protest in California. In doing so they reveal varied moments of agency without presenting an overly idyllic picture or presuming limitless potential for change. Anchoring the study of migration in the opposition between precarity and agency, the authors thus provide a new window into the continuously unfolding relationship between national borders, global capitalism, and human freedom.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal Citizenship Studies.

    1. Introduction: Precarity and agency through a migration lens

    Marcel Paret and Shannon Gleeson

    2. More than a paycheck: nannies, work, and identity

    Tina Wu

    3. Exit, voice, constrained loyalty, and entrapment: migrant farmworkers and the expression of discontent on New York dairy farms

    Kathleen Sexsmith

    4. ‘Negative credentials,’ ‘foreign-earned’ capital, and call centers: Guatemalan deportees’ precarious reintegration

    Tanya Golash-Boza

    5. Borderland attachments: citizenship and belonging along the U.S.–Mexico border

    Heidy Sarabia

    6. Golden state uprising: migrant protest in California, 1990–2010

    Marcel Paret and Guadalupe Aguilera

    7. Building political agency and movement leadership: the grassroots organizing model of Asian Immigrant Women Advocates

    Jennifer Jihye Chun

    8. Keep moving: collective agency along the migrant trail

    Abby C. Wheatley and Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz


    Marcel Paret is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Utah, USA, and a Senior Research Associate with the Center for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is co-editor of Southern Resistance in Critical Perspective: The Politics of Protest in South Africa’s Contentious Democracy (2017).

    Shannon Gleeson is Associate Professor of Labor Relations, Law, and History at the ILR School of Cornell University, USA. Her books include Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States (2016) and Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston (2012).