Making Transnational Adults From Youth: Mexican Immigrant Youth in Pursuit of the Mexican Dream

Isabel Martinez

Making Transnational Adults From Youth: Mexican Immigrant Youth in Pursuit of the Mexican Dream
Martinez, Isabel
Thesis Advisor(s):
Pallas, Aaron M.
Sociology and Education
Permanent URL:
Ph.D., Columbia University.
This dissertation examines the lives of recently-arrived Mexican immigrant youth who arrive to New York City from both rural and urban Mexico, and either enter into formal school settings, or remain out of these settings, foregoing formal schooling altogether or entering into non-formal educational institutions. Based on a qualitative case study of fifty-three Mexican youth, both pre and post immigration, this dissertation employs transnational theory, cultural and social reproduction theory, and life course theory to explain how even prior to immigration, youth are already forming ideas about work and school-going in the United States. Subject both to the social and economic conditions of their home communities, as well as to the messages they receive from their kin and friends already in New York City related to age, work and schooling, Mexican immigrant youth's worldviews are oriented towards particular pathways prior to immigration. Post-immigration, Mexican immigrant youth continue, for the most part, on these pathways, as they interact with social institutions and fields in New York, including the labor market and the educational system. Contributing to current immigration and education literature which emphasizes the formal school-going practices of immigrant youth, this dissertation broadens this discussion to explore not only their practices in pre and post immigration settings, but also how they impact school-going or non school-going.
Sociology of education
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