Encerrados: Wyoming Migrant Worker Resistance to Embodied Legacies of Violence
Swarthmore College. Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
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Encerrados: Wyoming Migrant Worker Resistance to Embodied Legacies of Violence is a compilation of migrant worker life stories that resist and challenge ongoing colonial structures of labor, care, and power. Drawing on anthropological literature that engages with the body, different forms of violence, frameworks of (in)visibility, capitalism and the fetishization of commodities, and the inflammation of the land, society, and bodies, this thesis interweaves migrant worker stories with histories of violence to bring forth the dangerous contradictions that structures of domination depend on. Combining extensive participant-observation, interviews, and the implementation of a social impact project focused on migrant worker healing, this thesis sheds light to the legacies of violence that manifest as poor health in the lives of Wyoming migrant workers, creating feelings of entrapment. These feelings are exacerbated by the violence of the U.S. immigration system that produces uncertainty and confines them to the geographic space. The body becomes the entity in which the ongoing forms of violence against migrant workers are made visible and the visibility of migrants in the broader community constructs hostile anti-immigrant environments. These attitudes, ideologies, and perceptions infiltrate into the institutions of care, further creating barriers for migrant patients seeking services. Despite their existence in harmful environments constructed by legacies of violence, Wyoming migrant workers are resilient and resist ongoing colonial harms. I argue that practices of remembering, and artmaking contribute to lessen these feelings of entrapment and provide migrant workers with the agency to reconstruct exploitative environments, in effect establishing feelings of libertad and tranquility.