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Title:Chasing blackness: re-investing value and Mexico's changing racial economy
Author(s):Jerry, Anthony
Director of Research:Lugo, Alejandro
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lugo, Alejandro
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Torres, Arlene; Perry, Marc; Perez, Ramona
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Black Mexico
Race in Latin America
Racial Economy
Racial Politics
Abstract:This dissertation explores how race is mobilized by “those on the bottom” within the confines of the current multicultural political arena dictated by the Mexican state as a means of access to national citizenship(s). This work adds an explicit cultural, social, and political element to the notion of “racial economy”. I argue that race, ethnicity, and culture have an historic value that helps to define their current value within the neo-liberal multicultural state and can therefore be traded in a limited number of ways. In this way, the logic of difference, based on colonial logics of race and ethnicity, dictates particular potentials and perspectives on the use and value of race and ethnicity as a cultural, social, and political commodity. These colonial logics continue to inform state sanctioned strategies for the official recognition of difference within the Mexican nation state. However, this dissertation argues that these logics are explicitly challenged by grass root approaches to recognition and representation as witnessed by local activism and the tensions between state officials and community organizers over the means of production for self-representation. A phenomenon that I refer to as “implication”, suggests that invocations of particular histories and social phenomena, such as racism, implicate particular racial/ethnic groups in the deliberate construction of the racial past and present, and therefore can define government approaches to citizenship as the government only half-heartedly embraces the true historical treatment of its marginalized populations. The issue of choosing a social identity, then, is paramount, as all racial terms embody particular social histories and can act as mnemonic devices that trigger a number of accepted or contested social histories. For this reason, it is also argued that the tensions between government, academics, and activists over linguistic and symbolic representations of race are more than tiffs over politically correct nomenclature, and should be read as serious conflicts over social/historical representation and the power to self-identify. Lastly, I focus on the role that conflicting “racial economies” at the U.S./Mexico border have on processes of racial formation/transformation.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Anthony Jerry
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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