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A Place to Be

A Place to Be: Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican Immigrants in Florida's New Destinations

PHILIP J. WILLIAMS
TIMOTHY J. STEIGENGA
MANUEL A. VÁSQUEZ
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hhzjt
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  • Book Info
    A Place to Be
    Book Description:

    A Place to Beis the first book to explore migration dynamics and community settlement among Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican immigrants in America's new South. The book adopts a fresh perspective to explore patterns of settlement in Florida, including the outlying areas of Miami and beyond. The stellar contributors from Latin America and the United States address the challenges faced by Latino immigrants, their cultural and religious practices, as well as the strategies used, as they move into areas experiencing recent large-scale immigration.

    Contributors to this volume include Patricia Fortuny Loret de Mola, Carol Girón Solórzano, Silvia Irene Palma, Lúcia Ribeiro, Mirian Solfs Lizama, José Claúdio Souza Alves, Timothy J. Steigenga, Manuel A. Vásquez, and Philip J. Williams.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4698-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-xi)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. 1 Introduction: Understanding Transnationalism, Collective Mobilization, and Lived Religion in New Immigrant Destinations
    (pp. 1-30)
    PHILIP J. WILLIAMS, MANUEL A. VÁSQUEZ and TIMOTHY J. STEIGENGA

    This book explores processes of identity and community formation among Mexican, Guatemalan, and Brazilian immigrants in the “non-conventional destinations” of Immokalee, Jupiter, Pompano Beach, and Deerfield Beach in South Florida. The volume brings together the contributions of scholars from Latin America and the United States who, for the last four years, have engaged in an integrated, transnational research project to analyze systematically the challenges that these immigrant groups face, the resources they bring, and the collective strategies they deploy as they settle in places that have only recently been affected by large-scale immigration and/or that have received scant scholarly...

  6. PART ONE Transnational Lives:: Networks, Families, and Solidarities across Borders

    • 2 Beyond Homo Anomicus: Interpersonal Networks, Space, and Religion among Brazilians in Broward County
      (pp. 33-56)
      MANUEL A. VÁSQUEZ

      Scholars of immigration, such as Maxine Margolis, Teresa Sales, and Ana Cristina Martes, have long documented the fact that Brazilians abroad consistently complain about the lack of community and collective solidarity among themselves.¹ Margolis, for instance, found a pervasive “ideology of disunity” among Brazilians in New York. She writes:

      Brazilians often talk about the absence of an esprit de corps in their community and compare themselves unfavorably in this regard to New York’s other new immigrant groups. All the Brazilians present at a gathering in Queens insisted that they alone among ethnic groups in the city lack a sense of...

    • 3 From Jacaltenango to Jupiter: Negotiating the Concept of “Family” through Transnational Space and Time
      (pp. 57-79)
      SILVIA IRENE PALMA, CAROL GIRÓN SOLÓRZANO and TIMOTHY J. STEIGENGA

      This chapter argues that “family” is a key concept for understanding the life of the Guatemalan immigrant community living in Jupiter, Florida. Family–related necessities serve as the primary motor of emigration. Preoccupation with the family is the principle axis in the hearts, minds, and daily lives of Jupiter’s immigrants. The strength of family ties are such that they allow immigrants to accept and tolerate the many sacrifices associated with daily living in a foreign and often hostile community. At the same time, the process of conducting multiple life histories, in-depth interviews, and focus groups with Jupiter’s immigrants, illuminated the...

    • 4 Solidarities among Mexican Immigrants in Immokalee
      (pp. 80-100)
      PATRICIA FORTUNY LORET DE MOLA, MIRIAN SOLÍS LIZAMA and PHILIP J. WILLIAMS

      In this chapter we analyze the varied forms of solidarity¹ that are constructed among mobile populations of peasant,mestizo, and indigenous Mexican immigrants in Immokalee, Florida.² Our intention is to elucidate the spontaneous, informal, and more formal elements that these diverse groups utilize to form bonds of solidarity across national, cultural, and religious borders.³ We refer to the phenomena analyzed in this chapter as “solidarities” because the groups that we studied are characterized by a certain degree of cohesion that leads individuals to act in the pursuit of collective benefits and goals. As we will see, mobile populations contain many...

  7. PART TWO Collective Mobilization and Empowerment

    • 5 Transnationalism and Collective Action among Guatemalan and Mexican Immigrants in Two Florida Communities
      (pp. 103-127)
      TIMOTHY J. STEIGENGA and PHILIP J. WILLIAMS

      In his examination of the labor struggle waged by Mayan immigrants in a Morganton, North Carolina, poultry plant, historian Leon Fink describes both a juxtaposition and a collision between the forces of globalization and community. As Fink explains, “In ways that recall their nineteenth century immigrant predecessors, the émigré Mayan workers ‘use’ community to at once defend themselves against employer exploitation and to advance the interests of their friends and families across international borders.”¹ A similar struggle is currently playing out across the United States in non–conventional sites of immigrant settlement, stirring public debate in many local areas and...

    • 6 Immigrant Regime of Production: The State, Political Mobilization, and Religious and Business Networks among Brazilians in South Florida
      (pp. 128-148)
      JOSÉ CLAÚDIO SOUZA ALVES

      In this chapter, I use the concept of immigrant regime of production to understand the political economy of Brazilian immigration to the United States. In particular, drawing from research among Brazilians in South Florida, I explore how the interaction between, on the one hand, the demands and needs of the Brazilian and American state apparatuses and, on the other, the “micro–physics” of immigrant networks facilitates the formation of an abundant, malleable, and cheap transnational labor force. After defining what I mean by an immigrant regime of production, I discuss the convergence of interests reflected in immigration policies in Brazil...

  8. PART THREE Identities and Lived Religion

    • 7 Lived Religion and a Sense of Home: The Ambiguities of Transnational Identity among Jacaltecos in Jupiter
      (pp. 151-169)
      TIMOTHY J. STEIGENGA, SILVIA IRENE PALMA and CAROL GIRÓN SOLÓRZANO

      One of the initial goals of this project was to understand the impact that various forms of religious transnationalism have on the formation or continuation of collective identities among immigrants in South Florida. In turn, we hoped to assess how such identities might foster and/or hinder civic participation among immigrants in the public sphere. Based on four years of research among Mayan immigrants in the community of Jupiter, Florida, this chapter argues that certain elements of lived religion among the Jacaltec Maya of Jupiter symbolically and practically recreate conceptions of “home,” thereby providing a sense of aggregate identity that has...

    • 8 Looking for Lived Religion in Immokalee
      (pp. 170-189)
      PHILIP J. WILLIAMS and PATRICIA FORTUNY LORET DE MOLA

      Our research in Immokalee, Florida, was based on the assumption that religion would be highly salient for Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants. As discussed in chapter I, the notion of the saliency of religion among immigrants is well established in the literature on religion and immigration in traditional gateway cities. Contrary to secularization theories that anticipated the privatization and marginalization of religion in modern societies, Stephen Warner argues that immigrants’ “religious identities often (but not always) mean more to them away from home, in their diaspora, than they did before.”¹ Similarly, Raymond Williams, in his study of Indian and Pakistani immigrants...

    • 9 Brazilian and Mexican Women: Interacting with God in Florida
      (pp. 190-208)
      PATRICIA FORTUNY LORET DE MOLA, LÚCIA RIBEIRO and MIRIAN SOLÍS LIZAMA

      This chapter analyzes the relationship between lived religion, gender, and migration in South Florida. Few studies examine this tripartite relationship,¹ as analyses of female migration normally emphasize social processes related to labor markets.² Even those studies that explore changes in gender roles, conceptions of femininity and masculinity, and family life that result from the process of migration tend to privilege the economic variable and ignore religion altogether. For example, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Ernestine Avila offer a very nuanced analysis of “transnational motherhood,” showing how the meaning of motherhood changes for Latinas who have left their children behind, in their countries...

    • 10 A Place to Be: New and Old Geographies of Latin American Migration in Florida and Beyond
      (pp. 209-226)
      TIMOTHY J. STEIGENGA, MANUEL A. VÁSQUEZ and PHILIP J. WILLIAMS

      The key concepts that frame the chapters in this volume, transnationalism, collective mobilization, and lived religion, represent both empirical subjects of investigation and critical analytical tools for understanding and interpreting the dynamics of immigrant life in new destinations. The preceding chapters provide ample empirical evidence and measures of transnationalism, mobilization, and lived religion in each of the cases we have studied. While the experience of Brazilians, Guatemalans, and Mexicans in South Florida cannot be generalized to all Latin American immigrants, it does highlight some of the central processes and trends that characterize Latino immigration to new destinations in the United...

  9. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 227-230)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 231-238)