Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This dissertation addresses the little studied but socially salient processes through which Latino migrant laborers find work, travel, and obtain documentation using transnational social networks spanning between their places of origin and destinations in the United States. This project focuses on the creation and maintenance of these transnational linkages with a particular interest in their expansion into locations throughout American South, the region with the highest growth rates of Hispanic populations. The aim is to understand how such migrant-labor processes influence migratory patterns and result in place creation, both in these case studies and more generally. The case studies in this dissertation are a Nashville-Guanajuato, Mexico transnational social network and a New Orleans-El Paraíso, Honduras-Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua transnational social network. Although independent of each other, the transnational networks of these migrant groups geographically overlap in the American South, thus providing a basis for comparisons and contrasts as well as for understanding their spatial, temporal, and social imbrications in both immigrant sending and receiving communities. The networks presented in this work are highly relevant because they are analogous in their structure and function, yet dissimilar in their origins and migratory histories. Nashville is a more established node connected to Guanajuato, a long-standing source node of migrant workers to the United States. New Orleans, however, is a recently emergent node for immigrants from El Paraíso, Honduras and Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua, becoming a destination for contemporary migrant workers only after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the city in 2005. Furthermore, compared to Guanajuato, El Paraíso is minor source of migrants to the United States. I employ a transnational methodology involving extensive qualitative fieldwork in migrant nodes spread across the southern United States, Guanajuato, and the departments of El Paraíso, Honduras and Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua. I call attention to the agency of migrants by underscoring the various strategies and tactics they utilize to be mobile. Likewise, I analyze the interpersonal bonds of transnational migrants and demonstrate how these social linkages are traceable between and among individuals and the locations they inhabit, whether they be dense, sparse, local, or geographically far apart.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sluyter, Andrew