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Title: Embodying the transnational : how young Mexican-American women negotiate the intersections of gender, race and class in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands
Author: O'Neill Gutierrez, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 9006
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the processes of identity formation that young Mexican women living in the United States-Mexico borderlands engage in today. It examines how they perform multiple and transnational identities to negotiate discourses of gender, race and class across the everyday spaces they inhabit. It shows that young women leverage their parents’ Mexican heritage and migration narratives as proxies for their own Mexican identity ascription, and it grants salience to parental strategies to instil within their daughters valuable cultural and social capital via la familia. It simultaneously contends that young women develop themselves as partially ‘-American’, a process which can function to also engender new interpretations of their Mexicanness as it is informed by their friends and peers. These performances are strongly rooted in the spatial worlds young women inhabit, most especially, the home and school spaces. Young women both conform to and contest normative expectations of them that centre on the gendered division of labour within the home, their degrees of freedom, and their educational trajectories. The thesis demonstrates that young women engage in transnational practices as a conscious strategy to make sense of the multiply conflicting identity discourses that are present in their lives. By ascribing to and performing strategically what they perceive to be Mexican and/or more American identities, and by utilising carefully the funds of social and cultural capital available to them, young women manage to create valuable and positive lives for themselves in a socio-cultural and economic landscape that can tend otherwise to devalue and exclude them. Rooted in, and contributing to, critical feminist and race theories, this thesis draws upon fifty-five in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with young Mexican women aged 14-24 during eleven months of ethnographic research in Encinitas, North County San Diego, California in 2009-10.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available