The Struggle for Home and Belonging: The Politics of Immigration in Arizona
My dissertation project explores the contemporary politics of immigration in Arizona, a state that has reinvigorated the bitter controversy around immigration and border policy. Using sociologist Kristen Luker’s (1984) study of abortion politics as an analytical and methodological model for my own fieldwork, I argue that conflicting political positions on immigration are built on opposing edifices of deep beliefs or “world views” about how the social world works. It is because these world views—about what US society is like and what it *should* be like—are called into question in immigration politics, that the topic has come to generate so much outrage. Through life history interviews with activists on both sides of the debate as well as ethnographic observation at the meetings, rallies, and other events organized around immigration politics, I explore the basis of this outrage. I try to bring to the surface the beliefs (particularly with regards to race, gender, family and belonging) that inform activists’ understanding of how US society has changed over the years, what kinds of problems it faces today, and how undocumented migration fits into the mix.