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Labor and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network (Issues of Globalization:Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology) [Paperback]

Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 25, 2010 0199739382 978-0199739387 1
Winner of the 2011 ALLA Book Award honorable mention!

Labor and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network is an ethnography of undocumented immigrants who work as busboys at a Chicago-area restaurant. Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz introduces readers to the Lions, ten friends from Mexico committed to improving their fortunes and the lives of their families. Set in and around "Il Vino," a restaurant that could stand in for many places that employ undocumented workers, Labor and Legality reveals the faces behind the war being waged over "illegal aliens" in America. Gomberg-Muñoz focuses on how undocumented workers develop a wide range of social strategies to cultivate financial security, nurture emotional well-being, and promote their dignity and self-esteem. She also reviews the political and historical circumstances of undocumented migration, with an emphasis on post-1970 socioeconomic and political conditions in the United States and Mexico.

Labor and Legality is one of several volumes in the Issues of Globalization: Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology series, which examines the experiences of individual communities in our contemporary world. Each volume offers a brief and engaging exploration of a particular issue arising from globalization and its cultural, political, and economic effects on certain peoples or groups. Ideal for introductory anthropology courses-and as supplements for a variety of upper-level courses-these texts seamlessly combine portraits of an interconnected and globalized world with narratives that emphasize the agency of their subjects.

Frequently Bought Together

Labor and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network (Issues of Globalization:Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology) + Cengage Advantage Books: Culture Counts: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology + Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology (14th Edition)
Price for all three: $169.38

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Loyola University Chicago. Her work has also been published in American Anthropologist, Human Organization, and the DuBois Review.

Product Details

  • Series: Issues of Globalization:Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199739382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199739387
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I'm teaching this book in an introductory college class with fantastic results. It combines compelling personal stories of 10 undocumented immigrants with great historical and public policy discussions that helps my students understand the history of interconnections between Mexico and the US, the complex reasons people migrate and the effects of US immigration policies. It addresses one of the most contentious debates in America with the fairness, dignity and complexity it deserves. I would strongly recommend it for a range of classes -- It would work in introductory anthropology, ethnic studies, urban studies courses as well as in other courses that explore globalization, immigration and public policy. It's accessible enough for introductory students but not at all over-simplified. A perfect mix.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I had this book assigned for a class, but once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. I even stayed up very very late to finish. The book follows a group of of normal guys and tells their stories as people without papers. It doesn't try to demonize or canonize them as saints. It only shows them as human beings trying to adapt and survive in a unique situation. Furthermore, there is no unnecessary victimization of the workers in this book. Rather, the author tries to show them as active agents with limited choices.
While the day-to-day personal narrative portions keep the reader very interested, these are interspersed among insightful sections of well-researched analysis and historical/political context.
I learned a lot from this book and I would recommend it highly to anyone who has even a small interest in immigration and the lives of immigrants.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-read on immigration March 23, 2013
By mmp
A friend of mine recommended this book, which is about undocumented immigration from the point of view of undocumented workers. I was skeptical, because I have no tolerance for political rhetoric, but this book is humanizing and easy to access. In fact, it reads sort of like a novel, in that it draws you in with personal stories, but it also seems to be well-researched with smart political and historical analysis. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants more information about migration in the United States. I learned more about undocumented migration from reading this book than I have from following the news for the last five years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing cultural experience June 28, 2014
Amazing story with amazing people and just awesome as a whole. The author gets to the stories and makes them seem as people but in an anthropologic way. She has a way with these people that makes them seem like they are not to be pitied but valued as a culture.
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