A Home of Our Own: Social Reproduction of a Precarious, Migrant Class

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2019-04-29

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Abstract

Many of the recent migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico have experienced the rise of drug-related gang violence and declining economic conditions in their home countries brought on by transnational agreements. With the ongoing collapse of their communities and homes via these conditions, many of these migrants move to the United States and join precarious jobs, such as agricultural labor. This thesis explores the ways in which family connections, inside and outside the home, affects the decision-making processes that leads migrant parents to join these precarious labor regimes. Through participant-observation and semi-structured interviews with migrant mothers and fathers from Honduras and Mexico living in rural towns in Eastern North Carolina, I investigate the social reproductive forces of the family that help fuel mass migration into rural North Carolina. Furthermore, I use my own experience as the son of an agricultural worker to complement my findings within the fields. My findings show that migrant mothers choose to migrate to North Carolina to raise their sons in proximity to their fathers, which they believe will allow their sons to learn how to become successful laborers in the future. Additionally, migrant parents believe that the home can be a place where the trauma of displacement can be undone. These findings show a glimmer of how lives can be structured and shaped outside of wage labor.

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Aguilar, Erick (2019). A Home of Our Own: Social Reproduction of a Precarious, Migrant Class. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18466.


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