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Why do you trust him? The construction of the good migrant in the Mexican migrant route

Author:

Alejandra Díaz de León

El Colegio de México, MX
About Alejandra
Alejandra Díaz de León is an Associate Professor at El Colegio de México who specialises in studying trust and solidarity among strangers along the migrant route through Mexico.
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Abstract

How do Central American migrants in transit decide which other migrants they can trust when they are crossing Mexico? In this article, based on extensive multi-situated ethnography in Mexico, I suggest that migrants look for the same signs and signals when deciding whom to trust, thus creating a single, ideal “good migrant”. This stereotype is fed to them by the migrant shelters and advocacy institutions which, in an effort to protect the migrants and to humanise them, create a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate migrants. The construction of the “good migrant” ideal forces migrants to change the way they behave and affects those migrants who are unable to conform to the stereotype as they are likely to get less solidarity and help. 


Resumen: ¿Por qué confiar? La construcción del buen migrante en la ruta migrante
mexicana
¿Cómo deciden los migrantes centroamericanos en tránsito en qué otros migrantes pueden confiar cuando cruzan México? En este artículo, basado en una extensa etnografía multi-situada en México, sugiero que los migrantes buscan los mismos signos y señales al decidir en quién confiar, creando así un único “buen migrante” ideal. Este estereotipo es alimentado por los albergues para migrantes y las instituciones de defensa que, en un esfuerzo por pro-teger a los migrantes y humanizarlos, crean una distinción entre migrantes legítimos e ilegí-timos. La construcción de un ideal de “buen migrante” obliga a los migrantes a cambiar su forma de comportarse y afecta a aquellos migrantes que no pueden adaptarse al estereotipo, ya que es probable que obtengan menos solidaridad y ayuda.

 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10645
How to Cite: Díaz de León, A. (2021). Why do you trust him? The construction of the good migrant in the Mexican migrant route. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (111), 1–17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10645
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Published on 03 Mar 2021.
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