Rice sociologist available to comment on his book examining border lives of working-class Mexicans

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


David Ruth

Amy McCaig

Rice sociologist available to comment on his book examining border lives of working-class Mexicans

HOUSTON – (April 11, 2016) – Tijuana has long had an infamous reputation as a hub of sex, drugs and crime. However, a new book by a Rice sociologist shows that the city is also home to a unique and varied group of individuals who use both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border as a resource to build their livelihoods.

Sergio Chávez, assistant professor of sociology at Rice, is available to comment on these border crossers and their lifestyles, which are the subject of his new book, “Border Lives,” published by Oxford University Press. The book is one of the first to demonstrate the ways in which the border has created both opportunities and barriers for working-class Mexicans and focuses on a previously understudied population of unauthorized migrants who use border-crossing cards.

Based on in-depth interviews with border residents of varying ages, “Border Lives” highlights the complex and often contradictory ways in which the border influences the livelihood strategies of border crossers. In the book, Chávez addresses the ways border enforcement and immigration policies have affected the daily lives of those who live in a region where two countries meet.

“The border is definitely a constraint,” Chávez said. “It limits the mobility of some individuals and families – based on who can and cannot cross the border. And because of this, it also limits the type of employment some individuals can pursue. Finally, it constrains social and familial relations, as some individuals can move freely back and forth across the border and others cannot. It impacts the time that these individuals can spend with their family and friends.”

However, Chávez said the border can also be an opportunity.

“Some individuals can capitalize on the best of both worlds if they have access to the proper documents,” he said. “It allows them to convert U.S. wages into a Mexican standard of living without losing the social and cultural comforts of Tijuana as their home.”

To schedule an interview with Chávez, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu. For more information on the book, visit http://bit.ly/1nvsf9p.


This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu.

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Related materials:

Sergio Chávez bio: https://sociology.rice.edu/chavez/

Book website: http://bit.ly/1nvsf9p

Photo link: http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/04/Sergio-Chavez1-2h2gz2n.jpg

Photo credit: Rice University

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.