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U.S. Latino Studies in a Global Context: Social Imagination and the Production of In/visibility


In what follows I sketch out two macro developments. First, the way in which, challenged by an expanded social imagination which has fully incorporated migration and transnational cultural processes within its horizon, political and critical imaginaries are forced to expand. New reterritorializing social practices, whatever their origins or structural causes, demand new ways of conceptualizing those processes. Some of the limits that are quickly reached in this impasse are those of the national political and critical research imaginations. The Nation-state and the social sciences it produced are challenged to comprehend, visibilize or invisibilize, the new social processes unleashed by globalization. Secondly, there is another crucial epochal tension between imagination as a way of social control and as a means of (potential) social transformation. The dynamics of visibility and invisibility affecting newly globalized Latino populations in the U.S. often times manifest as a contradiction or tension between two forms of such in/visibility: cultural citizenship and cultural consumption, difference and recognition on the one hand, and equality both political and economic, on the other. My contention is that Latino Studies must be a place to think these tensions as a way of intervening in the uncovering of the in/visibilization of the social dynamics involved.

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