Oregon State University

Fina Carpena-Mendez' Research

Research Interests: childhoods and youths in late capitalism; neoliberalism, post-development, and migration; transnational families and emergent forms of life; learning, experience, and embodiment in a globalized world.

Geographical Areas: Latin America (particularly Mexico and Brazil), United States, Europe (particularly Spain and Ireland).

I situate my research at the interface of neoliberal globalization, post-development studies, and transnational migrations, to which I have incorporated the lens of the anthropology of childhood and youth. My work examines the effects of neoliberal globalization on the condition of children’s lives in the contemporary world, with particular reference to Latin America (Mexico and Brazil), the US, and Europe (Ireland and Spain).  I am engaged in the ethnography of migration as a global social process, taking into account the effects on the everyday and the reconfiguration of the self in both new sending areas of Latin American and cosmopolitan receiving contexts in the global North.

I have worked with Nahua communities in the state of Puebla, Mexico, on the effects of neoliberal globalization on rural livelihoods, on rural youth taking the lead of new migration processes to the US, and the children left behind in new migrant sending communities. My work is concerned with rural youth’s experiences of circular transnational migration to urban areas of the U.S. and return migration to their rural communities. In my current project I look at how migrant youth envision a future for themselves and their communities, in the context of the generational take-over, and decide on the use of the land. An interrelated area of research is the reorganization of the everyday practices of children left behind and growing up in rural communities broken up by transnational migration.

Prior to joining the Anthropology department at OSU I worked as a researcher for the European Commission under the Marie Curie program in a project looking at the migratory and incorporation experiences of Latin American families and their children in Ireland. My work included researching the experiences of transnational circulation and hyper-mobility, adaptation to different schooling systems, and forms of relatedness and difference as lived by migrant children. I contributed to reports for European and Irish policymakers in the areas of immigration, education, and childhood. Before my postdoctoral research as a Marie Curie Fellow in Ireland I was a researcher at the Center for US-Mexican Studies and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

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