Martha Diaz-Longo

This work is based on my dissertation research which looks at the skeletal, material culture, and ethnographic evidence of structural violence in Latin America, and how this leads to immigration. Structural violence can be seen in these various avenues and used in conjunction with one another in providing a better framework that is not necessarily driven by the researcher’s interpretation but by the individuals who experienced this structural violence firsthand. This portion of the research will hone in specifically on the material culture associated with crossing of the United States/Mexico border.

            Many, if not all the individuals crossing the United States/Mexico border, carry with them religious, sentimental, nutritional, or protective items. Each of these items may be indicators of the life the individuals are leaving behind, in combination with the one they are hoping to achieve in the United States. The bigger picture here is that this crossing is long and dangerous, so whatever they decide to take with them must have some type of value or importance, be it for survival or emotional and physical support. This study offers a different perspective on the material culture associated with crossing the border in that it allows for the individuals to speak for themselves rather than have the researcher make their own interpretations.


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