Gonzales, J. L., Jr.
Author Affiliation :
Dept. Sociology, California State Univ., Hayward, California, USA.
Mexican and Mexican American farm workers.
pp.xix + 216pp.
The study, based on a survey of farm workers in California, demolishes the simplistic image of the typical farm labourer as either the Mexican-American migrant following the crops from state to state or the illegal alien from Mexico constantly dodging government authorities. What emerges instead is a complex portrait, which emphasizes the considerable diversity of circumstances and aspirations of those who produce California's agricultural harvest. This diversity is underlined through the development of an elaborate, multi-dimensional typology of the agricultural labour force. One dimension is commitment to agricultural work as a full-time occupation, distinguishing: the 'professionals' who have year-long and lifetime attachments, the 'semiprofessionals' the 'amateurs' and the 'dilettantes', whose commitments, as the names imply, are increasingly more tenuous. A second dimension is legal status. Even the 'illegals' are not a homogenous category. Undocumented Mexican nationals include 'border jumpers' who leave Mexico daily for jobs in the USA, returning home each night; 'adventurers' who come for longer periods and reside on the growers' property; 'innovators' who migrate as a family and follow the crops from one area to another; and 'climbers' who work for the same employer for long periods of time, year after year, in order to improve the status of the families they have left behind. Legal Mexican nationals also include a variety of types: 'commuters', 'opportunists', and 'loyalists', each with their distinctive social characteristics and motivations. The research concentrates on the 'professionals', who in a sense form the real backbone of the agricultural industry in California today. They are not rootless migrants, but rather are stable family men who work for the same employer year after year, sometimes even becoming socially integrated into the Spanish-speaking communities in the agricultural valleys of California. They are highly skilled agriculturalists who understand the nuances of crops and farming techniques and can operate and repair a variety of farm equipment.
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Indexing terms for this abstract:
farm families, farm workers, Migrant labour
foreign workers, migrant labor, United States of America
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Pacific States of USA, Western States of USA, USA, APEC countries, Developed Countries, North America, America, OECD Countries