Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765
FDP New Faculty Colloquium: Rebecca Torres
Fri, February 6, 2009 • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM • GAR 2.108
Transnational migration is inextricably tied to transformations in global capitalism, as well as asymmetrical political and economic power relations between Mexico and the US. Neoliberal restructuring and development has served to deepen socio- economic inequality within Mexico, and to usher in a "new geography" of migration to non-traditional destinations in the US (i.e. rural south) from new sending communities in rural Mexico (i.e. southern indigenous regions). At the same time, a "new development mantra" has emerged as a refrain within various sectors of government, civil society, academia and international development institutions, optimistically touting migration as a tool for development and poverty alleviation. Neoliberalism, migration and development are highly gendered processes which men and women experience, negotiate, reconstitute, enact and respond to in profoundly different ways. This presentation draws on transnational multi-sited ethnographic and quantitative data collected as part of a larger project focusing on the new geographies of Latino transnational migration. Through a gender framework of analysis, preliminary results are presented suggesting that women and children disproportionately bear the burden of "externalities," or hidden costs of neoliberal restructuring and transnational migration, and even more so in new US origin and Mexican destination communities. Understanding the intersections between neoliberal practices and migration at multiple scales, through a lens of gender analysis, is essential to developing a serious critique and analysis of the feasibility of utilizing migration as a vehicle for development and poverty alleviation in Mexico. Without geographically specific examinations of the hidden costs associated with neoliberal development and migration, it is possible that "migration for development" programs and policies could serve to exacerbate inequities and create a new underclass of the "left behind" which will only serve to stimulate additional migration and further weaken Mexican origin communities. The presentation concludes with a discussion of future research oriented at further deepening gender analysis of the new geographies of Latino transnational migration.