Citizenship Excess

Citizenship Excess: Latino/as, Media, and the Nation

Hector Amaya
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 284
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  • Book Info
    Citizenship Excess
    Book Description:

    Drawing on the Athenian tradition of 'wielding citizenship as a weapon to defend a contingently defined polis,' Hector Amaya has crafted an elegant and sophisticated analysis of the contemporary policies designed to contain and criminalize Latina/os. Citizenship Excess demonstrates that he is one of the leading Latina/o Media Scholars today. - Angharad N. Valdivia, General Editor of the International Encyclopedia of Media Studies and author of Latina/osDrawing on contemporary conflicts between Latino/as and anti-immigrant forces, Citizenship Excess illustrates the limitations of liberalism as expressed through U.S. media channels. Inspired by Latin American critical scholarship on the coloniality of power, Amaya demonstrates that nativists use the privileges associated with citizenship to accumulate power. That power is deployed to aggressively shape politics, culture, and the law, effectively undermining Latino/as who are marked by the ethno-racial and linguistic difference that nativists love to hate. Yet these social characteristics present crucial challenges to the political, legal, and cultural practices that define citizenship. Amaya examines the role of ethnicity and language in shaping the mediated public sphere through cases ranging from the participation of Latino/as in the Iraqi war and pro-immigration reform marches to labor laws restricting Latino/a participation in English-language media and news coverage of undocumented immigrant detention centers. Citizenship Excess demonstrates that the evolution of the idea of citizenship in the United States and the political and cultural practices that define it are intricately intertwined with nativism.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2383-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction: Latinas/os and Citizenship Excess
    (pp. 1-38)

    In April 2010, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed what at the time many observers considered the toughest immigration bill in the nation at a state level (Archibold 2010). The law ordered immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and required police to question any detainees that they believed might be in the United States illegally. Opponents of the law argued that it would inevitably lead to racial profiling against the Latino population. In the weeks that followed, a mediated national debate about the merits of the law pitted Latino groups, human rights and social justice activists, nativist...


    • 1 Toward a Latino Critique of Public Sphere Theory
      (pp. 41-67)

      There is a paradox that defines Latino political and cultural power. No other ethno-racial minority group has as much access to the mediated public sphere as Latinas/os, and yet Latino underrepresentation in the field of power is substantive. Paul Taylor, the director of the Pew Hispanic Center, offers the metaphor, “Latinas/os have so far punched below their weight in American politics, in contrast to blacks, who have punched above theirs” (Power in numbers 2010). Kim Geron (2005) places this metaphor in perspective when she notes that in 2004 Latinas/os accounted for less than 1 percent of the elected officials in...

    • 2 Nativism and the 2006 Pro-Immigration Reform Rallies
      (pp. 68-94)

      In 2006, millions of Latinas/os and supporters took to the streets demanding reforms to immigration law that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents. Although the marches were extremely successful, the pro-immigration reform movement (PRM) did not succeed. Instead of producing an opening for the legalization of millions, state and federal governments enacted harsher immigration measures, bringing increased suffering to documented and undocumented immigrants. Armando Navarro (2009), a political scientist at the University of California – Riverside, gives several reasons for the PRM’s relative defeat, including the lack of a sustainable activist effort, lack of national...

    • 3 Hutto: Staging Transnational Justice Claims in the Time of Coloniality
      (pp. 95-122)

      In the aftermath of the pro-immigration reform rallies of 2006, we witnessed an array of measures taken by city, state, and federal officials aimed at curtailing the immigration problem. The Sensenbrenner Act, which further criminalized behavior associated with undocumented labor, remained in the Republican agenda, and versions of it were voted on until late in 2006, when it was finally defeated. Thehabitus, which Bourdieu defines as “systems of durable, transposable dispositions” that “function as structuring structures,” was “inventing” new political ways of reconstituting difference (1990, 53). Other successful legal provisions invented by thehabitusallowed for workplace raids, the...

    • 4 English- and Spanish-Language Media
      (pp. 123-158)

      Latinas/os have never owned much media in the United States. Today, although Latinas/os are 15 percent of the population and their buying power stands at roughly $1 trillion, lack of ownership persists. As Catherine Sandoval (2005–2006), Kent Wilkinson (2009), and Leonard Baynes (2009) have noted, Latinas/os own roughly 1 percent of radio stations and only 1.25 percent of television stations (for a general picture, see Valdivia 2010, 54–63). Majorities, dominated by ethno-racially white interests, own all major broadcasting networks in radio and television, and the future of the ownership landscape seems equally dystopic for Latinas/os, who face the...


    • 5 Labor and the Legal Structuring of Media Industries in the Case of Ugly Betty (ABC, 2006)
      (pp. 161-189)

      Ethnonationalisms are flexible and can welcome others under certain conditions. Processes of inclusion are political but also cultural, and media participates by giving a few members of society the ability to construct the narratives that matter to the entire polis. This chapter reflects on processes of cultural inclusion by investigating the showUgly Betty(ABC, 2006–2010) and by asking the questions, what canUgly Bettytell us about the conditions Latinas/os have to fulfill in order to be part of mainstream English-language media? and, as important, what can these conditions tells about the relation of Latinas/os, mainstream media, and...

    • 6 Mediating Belonging, Inclusion, and Death
      (pp. 190-220)

      In chapter 5, I engaged with the problem of inclusion and explored it in relation to media industries and labor. As that chapter shows, the inclusion of noncitizen Latinas/os in English-language media is possible only if the fictional narrative rendering of Latinas/os is profitable. As I showed in other chapters, it is much harder for noncitizen Latinas/os to be represented positively in news and political speech. It is, in fact, quite extraordinary. The mainstreaming of nativism of the past two decades has meant that noncitizen Latinas/os can be part of news and political speech only as problems, as threats, and,...

  7. Conclusion: The Ethics of Nation
    (pp. 221-230)

    Timarchus was unfortunate. He, with Demosthenes, had accused Aeschines of treason but underestimated Aeschines’s viciousness. In one of the most famous speeches by an Athenian citizen, Aeschines destroyed Timarchus’s character and proved that Timarchus’s youthful indiscretions had broken the law and thus that Timarchus no longer had legal standing. He was sentenced toatimia, a sort of political excommunication common in classical Athens that foreclosed Timarchus’s ability to ever defend himself. Some historians believe he hanged himself immediately. But what happened, in a sense, does not matter, for Timarchus’s voice was never again found in the public record. Ironically, Demosthenes,...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 231-242)
    (pp. 243-262)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 263-274)
    (pp. 275-275)