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Title:Migrant spatiality: Identity, belonging, and a question of diaspora
Author(s):Lule, Liliana
Advisor(s):Rosas, Gilberto
Department / Program:Latin American & Carib Studies
Discipline:Latin American Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Latin American Studies
Abstract:This project seeks to understand the motivations behind long-term movement into and out of the United States (U.S.) by Mexican residents, in particular those who have returned to Mexico despite established professional and personal lives in the U.S. It intends to fill the gap in literature regarding retired populations, specifically, which remains a population with whom minimal work has been done. Despite challenges associated with legalization, which is often a timely and costly process, naturalized U.S. residents do not necessarily remain in the U.S. long-term. Anecdotal evidence suggests immigrants often plan to return to their nations of origin, or otherwise consider it an option. The unique geographic proximity between the U.S. and Mexico, however, results in the maintenance of distinct affective attachment to the latter nation, as is reflected in this project. Presently, much of the work centering immigrant experiences considers the effects of involuntary returns, i.e., the ramifications of deportations. In contrast, this project considers the motivations of voluntary returnees to Mexico, specifically those of retirees who hold either U.S.-American residency or dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship. Field work was completed in June 2019 in the Mexican state of Guanajuato; this project used ethnographic research methods to evaluate the experiences of retired Mexican nationals both in the U.S. and in Mexico. The results of these interviews suggest that a sense of belonging was a vital factor in the decision to return to Mexico, thus requiring an engagement of identity as it is experienced within a diasporic population. Despite significant time spent in the U.S., interviewees’ ongoing connection to, and/or preference for, their home country influenced their experiences as transnational subjects. This research project offers an analysis of this ongoing connection to their nation of origin, and its relationship to diaspora, identity and belonging.
Issue Date:2021-04-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Liliana Lule
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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