Decolonizing Ethnography

Undocumented Immigrants and New Directions in Social Science

Decolonizing Ethnography

Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: 7 illustrations Published: May 2019

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies

In August 2011, ethnographers Carolina Alonso Bejarano and Daniel M. Goldstein began a research project on undocumented immigration in the United States by volunteering at a center for migrant workers in New Jersey. Two years later, Lucia López Juárez and Mirian A. Mijangos García—two local immigrant workers from Latin America—joined Alonso Bejarano and Goldstein as research assistants and quickly became equal partners for whom ethnographic practice was inseparable from activism. In Decolonizing Ethnography the four coauthors offer a methodological and theoretical reassessment of social science research, showing how it can function as a vehicle for activism and as a tool for marginalized people to theorize their lives. Tacking between personal narratives, ethnographic field notes, an original bilingual play about workers' rights, and examinations of anthropology as a discipline, the coauthors show how the participation of Mijangos García and López Juárez transformed the project's activist and academic dimensions. In so doing, they offer a guide for those wishing to expand the potential of ethnography to serve as a means for social transformation and decolonization.


“The day-to-day activities of these decolonial researchers take center stage, offering a rarely seen glimpse of politically engaged ethnographic research practice. The authors' self-reflexive and openhearted contribution will be much welcomed. This outstanding book will make an important impact.” — Angela Stuesse, author of Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South

“The authors present a compelling argument that ethnography can promote community engagement and empowerment while pursuing social justice. Decolonizing Ethnography is an innovative and insightful book.” — Susan Bibler Coutin, author of Exiled Home: Salvadoran Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence


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Price: $23.95

Open Access

Fall 2019 Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Carolina Alonso Bejarano is an activist scholar and writer who teaches in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University. She is also a DJ and an editor, translator and collective member of Sangría Editora.

Lucia López Juárez is an activist who fights for equal rights for all people, a domestic worker, and a mother who cares for her home.

Mirian A. Mijangos García is a singer, songwriter, and naturopath. She is also a mother, an ethnographer, and an immigrants' rights activist.

Daniel M. Goldstein is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Rutgers University and author of Owners of the Sidewalk: Security and Survival in the Informal City, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
"broken poem"  ix
Preface  xi
Acknowledgments  xv
Introduction  1
1. Colonial Anthropology and Its Alternatives  17
2. Journeys toward Decolonizing  38
3. Reflections on Fieldwork in New Jersey  59
4. Undocumented Activist Theory and a Decolonial Methodology  78
5. Undocumented Theater: Writing and Resistance  101
Conclusion  136
Notes  149
References  161
Index  179
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0395-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0362-5