Roger Rouse is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is currently a visiting research fellow at the University of California, Davis, Center for Comparative Research, where he is completing a book on the topic of his 1989 Stanford dissertation, "Mexican Migration to the USA: Family Relations in the Development of a Transnational Migrant Circuit."
The first version of this paper was written in early 1988 while I was a visiting research fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego. It draws on fieldwork carried out between 1982 and 1984 under a doctoral fellowship from the Inter-American Foundation. I am grateful to both organizations for their support. Many of the ideas contained in the paper were developed in a study group on postmodernism organized with colleagues from the center. My principal thanks—for comments, criticisms, and immensely pleasant company—go to the group's members: Josefina Alcazar, Alberto Aziz, Roger Bartra, Luin Goldring, Lidia Pico, Claudia Schatán, and Francisco Valdés. I have also benefited from Khachig Tölölyan's sensitive reading of the text.
1. See Lockwood and Leinberger 35. The assertion of a false point of origin is apparently used so that the manufacturers can participate in foreign delivery contracts. See Soja 217.
2. "Hoy, ocho años de mi partida, cuando me preguntan por mi nacionalidad o identidad étnica, no puedo responder con una palabra, pues mi 'identidad' ya posee repertorios múltiples: soy mexicano pero tambien soy chicano y latinoamericano. En la frontera me dicen 'chilango' o 'mexiquillo;' en la capital 'pocho' o 'norteno' y en España 'sudaca.' . . . Mi compañera Emilia es angloitaliana pero habla español con acento argentine; y juntos caminamos entre los escombros de la torre de Babel de nuestra posmodernidad americana." Gómez-Peña (my translation).
3. See, for example, Clifford 22; and Rosaldo, Culture and Truth 217.
4. Jameson 83. Like Jameson, I find it useful to follow Ernest Mandel in arguing for the emergence since the Second World War of a new phase in monopoly capitalism, but I prefer to label this phase "transnational" rather than "late" partly to avoid the implication of imminent transcendence and, more positively, to emphasize the crucial role played by the constant movement of capital, labor, and information across national borders.
5. See Davis, "Urban Renaissance"; and Lipsitz, esp. 161.
6. It is important to stress that I am concerned not with the various meanings of this particular term but instead with the image itself. The term serves merely as a convenient marker.
7. See Williams 65-66.
8. Williams 65-66.
9. The combination of these images is readily apparent in the classic works on rural social organization by Robert Redfield and Eric Wolf (The Little Community and Peasant Society and Culture and "Types of Latin American Peasantry"), both of whom draw heavily on Mexican materials, and can also be seen in Immanuel Wallerstein's tendency (in The Capitalist World Economy) to use nation-states as the constituent units of his world system, at least in the core.
10. This approach has been used in two related but different kinds of study. In work focusing on migration itself—especially on migration within Mexico—changes have commonly been gauged by comparing the forms of organization found in the points of destination with arrangements revealed by detailed research in the specific communities from which the migrants have come. See, for example, Butterworth; Kemper; and Lewis. In work on communities known to contain a significant number of migrants and descendants of migrants—and especially in work on Mexican and Chicano communities in the United States—it has been more common to compare forms of organization found in these communities with arrangements discovered...