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Living with the pain of home: An ethnography of political activism amongst Mexican migrants in Catalonia

RUSE, JAMIE-LEIGH (2015) Living with the pain of home: An ethnography of political activism amongst Mexican migrants in Catalonia. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis is an enquiry into the emergence of forms of privileged migrant activism. It looks at the experience of middle- and upper-class Mexican migrants living in Barcelona, and explores the way they narrate the process through which they come to be involved in political activism directed at Mexico. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out with over twelve migrant political and cultural collectives in Barcelona, and opens an anthropological window onto understanding the intersections of privileged migration and political ways of being. It looks at the experience of migrants involved in campaigning against the war on drugs, electoral corruption, and political repression in Mexico. The account draws upon the extended interview narratives of individual migrants, and employs the concepts of affect emotion and cosmopolitanism as interpretive tools through which to understand their experiences. It argues that our analyses must look at the individual aspects of experience which influence migrant subjectivities. This includes looking at ambiguous implications of migrating, the emotionally complex ways in which migrants relate to home from abroad, and the impact that multiple inhabitations of cosmopolitanism can have for the way political subjectivities are articulated. The account shows how affect, emotion, and cosmopolitanism interact within migrant narratives in diverse ways. It demonstrates their importance in transforming the way migrants think about home and political action, in revealing migrants’ own implications of structures of inequality at home, and in solidifying the political commitment of some activists. It also highlights their importance in shaping the form of protests which were enacted by migrants, and in influencing the likelihood of sustained political collaboration being practiced between individuals.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Mexico, Migration, Activism, Emotion, Cosmopolitanism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Aug 2015 15:27

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