Re-Thinking Illegality as a Violence Against, not by Mexican Immigrants, Children, and Youth

Authors

  • Jocelyn Solis

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      *Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Jocelyn Solis, School of Education, CUNY-Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210 [e-mail: jsolis@brooklyn.cuny.edu]. The author would like to acknowledge the thoughtful comments and suggestions for revisions by the editors and reviewers of this article, as well as the generous participation of those involved in the research. This article is part of a dissertation whose completion was funded by the Ford Foundation.
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*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Jocelyn Solis, School of Education, CUNY-Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210 [e-mail: jsolis@brooklyn.cuny.edu]. The author would like to acknowledge the thoughtful comments and suggestions for revisions by the editors and reviewers of this article, as well as the generous participation of those involved in the research. This article is part of a dissertation whose completion was funded by the Ford Foundation.

Abstract

Sociohistorical theory was used to examine illegality as a form of state violence that bears upon the formation of undocumented Mexican immigrants. This article proposes a theory of dialectical violence that integrates societal with personal enactments of violence through case illustrations of Mexican youth. In a grassroots association defending immigrants' rights, youth develop within conflicting discourses about undocumented immigrants proposed by society, family, and community. Methods included ethnographic analysis of the association's documents, a workshop in which five participants authored a booklet with texts and illustrations about their lives in the city, and an interview with their mothers. Findings illustrate how Mexican youth enter a cycle of violence as a result of their undocumented status, socioeconomic class, language and ethnic-racial memberships.

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