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Points of Contact: Agents of Aid and Social Reproduction at a Migrant Shelter in Tijuana

  • Author(s): Quintana, RIGOBERTO
  • Advisor(s): Menj�var, Cecilia
  • et al.

Drawing on six weeks of ethnographic research in a migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, this thesis focuses on the reproduction of social categories at sites of aid through an analysis of interactions between volunteers and migrants. By looking at the site of the Lona shelter as a site that interweaves volunteer motivations, humanitarian principles, and the rescue industry, this study attempts to complicate notions of the “good” to highlight how volunteers’ current deployed strategies reproduce a neoliberal working class that is harmful to migrants. The analysis reveals how volunteers’ approaches motivated by either altruistic and/or self-centered motivations do not create or offer the space for volunteers or migrants to disrupt the harmful social relations solidified at a site of aid.

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