Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Totally Academic Post

So, I'm working on this chapter that is basically going to explore the arrival of Latino workers to the South Arkansas poultry industry and how that arrival affects black women in the workplace and at home. It also discusses the traditional black labor force’s reaction to and perceptions of these new immigrants.

And... I think I'm trying to make more of a connection between the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and the phenomenal growth rate of Latinos in non-metropolitan areas. I feel like I have to discuss the act, but its effects on the population growth and the poultry industry are presented as kind of ambivalent in things I've read.

As far as why/how these workers came to Arkansas (and to the South in general):
1. Declining job opportunites in traditional "gateway" cities/home countries
2. Strong recruitment--by companies (esp poultry processors) and by workers themselves through kin and fictive kin networks
3. IRCA rules that intensifed INS activity in areas with large Latino populations, pushing immigrants out of those areas
That's what I'm highlighting so far. I guess I shouldn't reveal everything.

This chapter is hard for me in other ways too--I use the word "immigrant" a little too loosely (not sure that's the right adverb); I don't think I make clear distinction between native, documented, and undocumented workers in the industry (simply because I don't know the numbers of each). Oh, and I just remembered I haven't talked about why the poultry industry needed new workers in the 90s--beyond the obvious issues with turnover and exhaustion of local labor pools.

I'm probably telling way too much. But this is helping me get my ideas together. And if someone happens to stop by with some knowledge of the subject...


RageyOne said...

So I know absolutely nothing on your topic, however I do have a comment. You say that you use the term "immigratnt" way too loosely because you don't know the numbers of the other terms you refer to, native, documented, and undocumented. Must you know the numbers in order to use the terms? Can you simply define the terms according to the literature and use them in your chapter in that way?

On second thought, now that I reread your post I think I see where you are coming from. When you say, you don't knwo the numbers, are you referring to the # of folks in each category during that time period?

Elle said...

I think, when I use immigrant, people won't read it as "immigrant to the South" but as "immigrant from another country" when both apply in different contexts.

by loosely, i mean i catch myself referring to all Latino workers in the industry that way.

and I don't want to give the impression that all Latino workers in the industry are foreign born--they aren't but I don't know how many are, how many aren't, etc.

does that make sense? if you can't tell, i'm worried about sounding/being ignorant or offensive.

RageyOne said...

Ohhhhh...okay, that makes more sense. Yeah, I would probably read it is "immigrant from antoher country" as well. Is there a nother term that is possibly used? Would transplant from another are of the country work? Could you define the term at the beginning of the chapter and then use it instead of "immigrant?"

JustMe said...

ooh, this is a very exciting topic!
how about using migrant and immigrant? migrant being for latino immigrant who migrated from original arrival city to southern city.

re IRCA, perhaps the legalization/ amnesty allowed for greater movement to jobs that are less invisible for the undocumented, though these are definitely still invisible to the greater american population.

what about immigrant co-ethnic networks for reasons why people migrated?

just some thoughts, take for what they're worth. your dissertation topic sounds fascinating!

Elle said...

thanks both,

ragey, i just read an article that used the term internal migrants and international migrants. i'm thinking...

justme, i'm in the library so i'm going to go over your suggestions in detail once i get home

Texter said...
hi, elle. the work sounds good. I think you're right to distinguish between immigrant across international borders vs domestic migration. fyi (url above) i was aware of this woman's work for other reasons, but I came across her painting of a poulty packing plant fire. thought it might be of historical interest.

RageyOne said...

Oh, I like Just Me's suggestion.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...