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Title:Border Narratives, Latino Health, and United States Media Representation: A Cultural Analysis
Author(s):Ruiz, Maria Victoria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Treichler, Paula A.
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Public Health
Abstract:This dissertation traces the convergence in the 1990's of three issues in the media: immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border, and health care policy. I show that anxieties surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border are articulated to concerns about health, disease, and medical resources. I start with a qualitative analysis of selected texts from mainstream media to lay out the dominant themes that largely construct undocumented crossers as a national and biological threat, and the border as a frontline dividing "us" from "them." Further analysis of the narratives surrounding immigration reform legislation of the 1990's illuminate some of the contradictions infusing border controversies, primarily why the restriction of health care and social services was widely accepted as a useful response to the "problem" of immigration. I argue that the inflammatory narratives surrounding the "illegal alien" and the U.S.-Mexico border are easily adopted when talking about documented immigrants, residents, and potentially to citizens who "look foreign." The relationship between news coverage, "immigration reform" rhetoric, and even legislative initiatives is circular: each providing "evidence"---language and images---for the other's arguments that the United States is suffering in economics, in culture, and in national identity because of non-Anglo immigration from Latin America. One of the lessons learned from this dissertation is that the linkage between disease, uncontrolled growth, and border crossings does more than compare the problem of borders to the problem of infectious disease; the linkage assigns blame for one onto the other. Most worrisome is that immigrants are seen as disease vectors or as migrating pathogens, rather than people who themselves suffer from disease. Such ways of framing the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration from Mexico and the rest of Latin America creates a social world which channels resources, such as money and technology, into the policing and surveillance of immigrants and Latino workers even as it obfuscates corporate responsibility for their well-being.
Issue Date:2005
Description:217 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3202165
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2005

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