Chicanismo in the New Generation: "Youth, Identity, Power" in the 21st Century Borderlands
AuthorStauber, Leah S.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Chicano movements of the 1960s transformed protest and unrest into significant gains in the status of young Mexican Americans. Deriving strength from the political climate of their times, the movements were driven largely by youth organized around the common identity paradigm of Chicanismo and agitating for fundamental change in socio-political discourses and hierarchies within the United States. Since the 1960s, however, collective youth action has rarely been evident in the historical record of Chicanismo, and globalization and transnationalism have influenced the terms of Mexican American experience, identification, and social action themselves. Tucson, Arizona, somewhat in the periphery of the original Chicano movements, finds itself at the epicenter of today's ideological and practical contests over the legacies of the movimiento. This city, located just sixty miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, until 2012 hosted one of the country's only public school departments of Mexican American Studies, which itself was home to one of the country's first formalized social-justice education curricula. In the first decade of the 21st century, precipitous increases in the number of graduates of these curricula converged with the collapse of world financial markets and resulting local crises in socio-political economy, which had intersecting, rippled effects on both side of the U.S.-Mexico border. In the ensuing climate of financial constriction and ideological transformation, subterranean questions about national belonging and legitimacy surfaced in local and national political challenges to Mexican immigration and "appropriate" schooling curriculum. Local Chicana/o youth responded to these local and larger contestations to their legitimacy as citizens and students by mobilizing some of the most significant public actions since the 1960s.This dissertation investigates the awakening into critical consciousness and pursuant social action of Mexican American high school students, youth "activists" and "organizers" in Tucson, Arizona. Building from ethnography conducted across nine years within youth actors' sites of activism and social justice engagement, this research reveals new complexities in our understanding of "activist" identity and enactments, and contends that understandings of both "activism" and "Chicanismo" must be revisited in the scholarship of youth movements, generally, and Chicana/o social action, specifically.
Degree ProgramGraduate College