Beyond El Barrio

Everyday Life in Latina/o America

296 pages

13 illustrations

October, 2010

ISBN: 9780814791288



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Gina M. Pérez is Professor in the Comparative American Studies program at Oberlin College. She is the author of The Near Northwest Side Story: Migration, Displacement, and Puerto Rican Families.

All books by Gina M. Pérez

Frank A. Guridy is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African-Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow.

All books by Frank Guridy

Adrian Burgos, Jr., is Associate Professor of US Latino History at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line.

All books by Adrian Burgos

Freighted with meaning, “el barrio” is both place and metaphor for Latino populations in the United States. Though it has symbolized both marginalization and robust and empowered communities, the construct of el barrio has often reproduced static understandings of Latino life; they fail to account for recent demographic shifts in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, and in areas outside of these historic communities.
Beyond El Barrio features new scholarship that critically interrogates how Latinos are portrayed in media, public policy and popular culture, as well as the material conditions in which different Latina/o groups build meaningful communities both within and across national affiliations. Drawing from history, media studies, cultural studies, and anthropology, the contributors illustrate how despite the hypervisibility of Latinos and Latin American immigrants in recent political debates and popular culture, the daily lives of America’s new “majority minority” remain largely invisible and mischaracterized.
Taken together, these essays provide analyses that not only defy stubborn stereotypes, but also present novel narratives of Latina/o communities that do not fit within recognizable categories. In this way, this book helps us to move “beyond el barrio”: beyond stereotype and stigmatizing tropes, as well as nostalgic and uncritical portraits of complex and heterogeneous range of Latina/o lives.


  • “By complicating current representations of Latino/a lives and communities, this groundbreaking work provides a more global, transnational and fluid understanding of barrios both as physical spaces and as metaphors. A smart and engaging intervention on some of the most critical questions surrounding Latinos' citizenship, sexuality, activism and cultural politics.”

    —Arlene Davila, author of Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race

  • “This interdisciplinary collection contests Latinos’ problematic hypervisibility by exploring their expressions of agency related to citizenship and nationalism, gender and sexuality, and community activism in multiple sites. The fascinating case studies illuminate how Latinas and Latinos of diverse origins negotiate complex local and transnational power relations.”

    —Patricia Zavella, University of California, Santa Cruz

  • "The book would be a welcome addition to undergraduate social science class that aims to engage seriously with ethnicity, difference and cultural expression in contemporary America."

    —Nina Martin, Urban Studies Journal Limited

  • "An important set of academic articles by skillful scholars."

    Centro Journal