Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants

ISBN: 0520244133
ISBN 13: 9780520244139
By: Robert Courtney Smith

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About this book

Drawing on more than fifteen years of research, Mexican New York offers an intimate view of globalization as it is lived by Mexican immigrants and their children in New York and in Mexico. Robert Courtney Smith's groundbreaking study sheds new light on transnationalism, vividly illustrating how immigrants move back and forth between New York and their home village in Puebla with considerable ease, borrowing from and contributing to both communities as they forge new gender roles; new strategies of social mobility, race, and even adolescence; and new brands of politics and egalitarianism.Smith's deeply informed narrative describes how first-generation men who have lived in New York for decades become important political leaders in their home villages in Mexico. Smith explains how relations between immigrant men and women and their U.S.-born children are renegotiated in the context of migration to New York and temporary return visits to Mexico. He illustrates how U.S.-born youth keep their attachments to Mexico, and how changes in migration and assimilation have combined to transnationalize both U.S.-born adolescents and Mexican gangs between New York and Puebla. Mexican New York profoundly deepens our knowledge of immigration as a social process, convincingly showing how some immigrants live and function in two worlds at the same time and how transnationalization and assimilation are not opposing, but related, phenomena.

Reader's Thoughts


this is a great book for the times.


Reading this book makes me realize that the world is far more complex transnationally than previously thought. However the writing is pretty bland, and after a while I mostly read what previous students had highlighted or underlined in order to get the key elements.


This book was a very interesting look at immigrants in New York. He studied this for over ten years before publishing the book so there was a lot of good information and interesting insights. It focuses on a few families from a specific community in Mexico, so it's not necessarily as widely applicable, but it was very interesting.


The language is academic and somewhat bland, but I found the concept of a generation of youths growing up half in rough Brooklyn neighborhoods and half in rural Mexican villages fascinating.

Greta Gilbertson

A very good book on immigrant transnationalism. Rob Smith spent a long time in the field and he captures how people live lives in two places. Classic line: "el ausente Siempre presente".

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