Once the violent course of the Mexican revolution subsided, and political stability cemented on a strong state apparatus took hold, Mexico entered a steady path of economic growth. Between about 1940 and 1970 the state intervened forcefully to propel urban industrial development. Those were the golden years of import substitution industrialization (ISI), which for working class manufacturing workers in Mexican cities meant a living wage, subsidized housing and health care, social security, and various perquisites, all supported by a strong state that mediated between industrialists and unions. Since the early 1980s, ISI gave way to export-oriented industrialization (EOI). EOI features a smaller and retreating state, labor "flexibilization," weak unions, insufficient wages, and the rise of the informal urban economy as a poor substitute for the relative economic security of the past. The ISI-EOI story is, of course, well known to anyone familiar with twentieth-century Mexico-or, for that matter, with twentieth-century Latin America. But the link between the macroeconomic model and urban Mexican migration to the United States is not. Rubén Hernández-León addresses this connection. In a field replete with studies of rural Mexican migration to the U.S., his book is groundbreaking and a refreshing read. Metropolitan Migrants is the result of ten years of research on the Monterrey-Houston migratory circuit. Hernández-León's analytical lens zooms in on a Monterrey industrial working class neighborhood, La Fama, and its counterpart in the Summerland section of Houston. His methodology mixes qualitative and quantitative tools-with an emphasis on ethnography-and keeps a constant dialogue between the macro and the micro and between the two sides of the border.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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