Rhodes, Catherine R

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Life as a Chord: Heterogeneous Resources in the Social Identification of One Migrant Girl
    (2013-01-01) Wortham, Stanton; Rhodes, Catherine R
    The social and natural worlds provide heterogeneous resources that contribute both to instances of social identification and to life trajectories. One might claim or be assigned membership in various groups, which emerge at different spatial and temporal scales, and resources for social identification are often combined in novel ways to yield unexpected identities. To account for the trajectories of identification that any individual travels, analysts must determine which configurations of resources become relevant in a given case. Of the many resources that might be relevant to identifying an individual, event, or setting, a few generally become salient—somewhat like several musical notes coming together to constitute a chord. We illustrate this contingent process by describing one young Mexican migrant in the USA, sketching relevant aspects of family interactions, educational practices, local community characteristics, and national discourses. This girl, her family, and other actors combine heterogeneous resources in contingent ways as they navigate and establish an emerging trajectory of identification through which she becomes a ‘good reader’.
  • Publication
    The Production of Relevant Scales: Social Identification of Migrants During Rapid Demographic Change in One American Town
    (2012-03-01) Wortham, Stanton; Rhodes, Catherine R
    This essay explores the question of relevant scale: which of the many potentially relevant processes – from interactional through local through global, from nearly instantaneous through those emergent over months, years or centuries – in fact contributes to social identification in any given case, and how do these heterogeneous processes interrelate? Contemporary answers to this question have moved beyond the détente of the “micro-macro dialectic,” in which purportedly homogeneous “macro” processes constrain events and actions, while being simultaneously constituted by “micro” events and actions. We review contemporary work on these issues, with particular reference to the use of language in social identification, and we argue that an adequate account must go beyond “micro” and “macro.” We illustrate our argument with data from a seven-year ethnographic project in an American town that has received thousands of Mexican immigrants over the past decade, focusing on two types of narratives that residents tell about immigrants: stories about “payday muggings” in which immigrants are victimized, and stories about the town's historical trajectory and immigrants' role in it. These narratives emerge and move across different scales, and they are an important resource for residents as they socially identify themselves and others.