Crossing the Line: The Identity of American Citizens Who Live in Mexico and Attend U.S. Border Town Schools
KeywordsTeaching & Teacher Education
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractThis case study explored the negotiation of identities of American-born Mexican descent high school students in a US-Mexico border region. These students resided mostly with their parents and families on the Mexican side, and having legal American status, crossed the border daily to attend high school on the U.S. side. This qualitative study was informed by social and historical perspectives, and emphasized the identity of border crossers, examining the question of how they positioned themselves when faced with Americanization on the U.S. side and Mexicanization on the Mexican side. The study included a total of 19 participants: 3 students of primary focus, and 16 secondary participants (6 other high school students, 6 educators and 4 parents.) This sample of convenience was recruited at Isler High School, the researcher's place of work. Interviews were conducted with each participant, and the three focus students kept a month-long journal. Finally, some students in the secondary group provided valuable information through focus group discussion. Using Gee's (2001) theoretical framework that proposes four perspectives for viewing identity (Nature, Institution, Discourse and Affinity), the researcher found that the focus participants, each one bilingual, considered English an instrument to become American and be recognized as such. However, each "confessed" to code-switching, but preferred to avoid it. The three focus students self-identified as either Mexican or Mexican and American. One strongly rejected the possibility of being ascribed the identity of a Chicano. The study showed that student border crossers are perfectly fluent in both English and Spanish, contrary to commonly held belief, and that they identify with Mexico, but also with the United States.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching & Teacher Education