Chapter 8 Discussion Questions and Suggested Activities

Chapter 8 Discussion Questions and Suggested Activities

Bringing it All Home

Discussion Questions

1.  What are the different kinds of globalization described in the book? What kinds of logistics at the transnational level makes these possible? How do the people immersed in these globalizations experience their effects?

2.  Labor migration sits at the heart of this book, but the text also hints at many different kinds of movement, both permanent and temporary. These include day trips for shopping, international tourism, and refugee relocation. Review who gets to travel where and for what reasons. What obstacles do different people face in making their travels possible? What mechanisms smooth the way for some kinds of travel?

3.  Houses can symbolize the people who live in them and serve as microcosms of the larger, collective meanings people draw on to go about their lives. What are the different houses described throughout the book?  What do these houses say about the social relations of the people who live inside them? What do these houses say about social relations between a house’s residents and its neighbors?

4.  What are the different ethnic relations the Dorados and their neighbors navigate in Mexico? How might these experiences inform their experiences of international migration? Drawing from the text and your personal experience, what ethnic relations do the Dorados encounter in the United States? How are these Stateside relations the same or different from those the Dorado experience in Mexico?

5. Families are by no means homogeneous or harmonious. Families are differentiated by age, status, and gender. How did gender, status, and age affect the way people engaged in and understood international migration? How did these categories affect where people placed responsibility when the migratory endeavor was not successful?

6.  How did ideas about marriage change for the Dorados in the last twenty years? How are these changes the result of migration? How do these changes cause migration? The book suggests the Dorados had to adjust their marriages in order to adapt to migration, but do you think this was necessary?  Can you imagine a way that ideas about husbands, wives and appropriate marital relations might have remained the same as men undertook their travels?

7.  The ethnography suggests that, at base, a person’s concern for family and others with whom they share symbols and emotions are the most important factors shaping their life decisions.  Do you agree or disagree? Why?

8. Ideas of kinship suggest humans have a natural tendency to favor those with whom they interact regularly and with whom they share symbols and emotions. However, in today’s globalized world, people’s lives can be markedly affected by individuals who live outside their social circles and with whom they may have little in common. These people may live around the corner or on the other side of the Earth. How do we navigate this difference? What, if any, obligations do we have to people who are unfamiliar to us?

9. Men’s labor migration was crucial to the settling of the United States by people from China and Japan to Italy and elsewhere. Now that you have read this book, what questions do you have about America’s immigration history? What aspects of men’s labor migration does that history emphasize? Which aspects does the history overlook?

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