Managing El Corazon and Transnational Households Among Mexican Migrant Women

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Evelyn ENCALADA GREZ, York University, Canada, OISE of the University of Toronto, Canada
Neoliberal globalization has induced unprecedented shifts throughout the globe since its inception in the early 1970s. While there is a wealth of political and economic studies pertaining to the changes in governance, deregulation of markets and cuts to social spending, emotional aspects of this shift warrant further attention. In this paper, I situate the labour migration of Mexican migrant women to rural Canada within the context of emotional burdening and discipling of neoliberal capital. I show how their labour entails not only working in Canadian agriculture but caring for their children and kin and managing households across borders. I start by discussing the literature on transnational families and gendered statelessness negotiated by migrant women as non-citizens from the Global South. I then explicate how the discourse of the Canadian family farm acts to obliterate migrant women, their families along with the arduous productive and reproductive work they all perform in order to supply labour and earn wages for household survival. Overall, the complex transnational homemaking practises produce a myriad of consequences, some of which I term “transnational casualties” that women contend with in order to secure survival, care, and well-being for themselves and their families. In their precarious labour migration and transnational livelihoods, Mexican migrant women have to constantly manage their corazones and migrate with broken hearts. Hence social justice projects have to consider not only the material quality of life of migrant women and their families but also the immaterial such as emotions and the structures that coerce and pain them.