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Intersticios sociales

On-line version ISSN 2007-4964


SCHAFFHAUSER, Philippe. La figura del migrante como estigma social: el derrotero de los exbraceros trabajadores migratorios mexicanos (1942-1964). Intersticios sociales [online]. 2016, n.12. ISSN 2007-4964.

The meaning of the term bracero combines, on the one hand, a direct experience -what the philosopher Bertrand Russell calls "acquaintance"- based on the metaphor of men's arms as the cardinal corporal tools of agricultural laborers and the succession of experiences that characterized the fortunes of the migrant Mexican workers that participated in the "Bracero Program" negotiated between Mexico and the U.S. between 1942 and 1964 with, on the other, a mechanism of political and institutional imposition that consisted, at the time, in labeling migrant subjects as "braceros". In this sense, being a bracero was originally a simple institutional label, but it soon morphed to characterize an entire experience of situated migratory work. From a symbolic interactionist and constructivist perspective derived from works by Lemert, Goffman and Becker, this paper proposes an interpretative framework inspired in labeling theory that allows us to elucidate the construction of the social stigma attributed to braceros, first as brazos (i.e., arms) at the service of U.S. agriculture and, later, as "old migrants" (viejo migrantes); i.e., obsolete workers. What is important here is to decipher the 'load' of these constructions and their implications as we seek to understand the moral bases upon which social linkages are based and the interactions they nourish.

Keywords : interactionist sociology; bracero; Mexico-United States migration; program bracero; social stigma.

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