Fighting for State Legibility: The Use of Schooling to Recast Criminalized Populations

Authors: Octaviano Chavarín*, Stanford University
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Ethnicity and Race, Migration
Keywords: Immigration, Education, Surveillance, Subjectivity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8228, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The activism surrounding DREAM-ers has focused on participation in U.S. schools—while tacitly criminalizing adult migrants who did not attend U.S. schools—to make the case for a path to residency for young undocumented migrants. Sociology of education scholarship with undocumented migrants has framed education as a fundamental right for all, but undocumented migrants are, as Lisa Cacho suggests, ineligible for personhood within the U.S. political economy; meaning, they do not have rights, nor do they have the right to ask for rights (Cacho 2012). Scholarship on undocumented students (Gonzales 2016) focuses on the potential of undocumented migrants who have received schooling in the United States, often citing their educational achievement as a demonstration of worthiness. What are the implications of this scholarship for undocumented migrants who do not achieve secondary education at all but particularly in the U.S.? I expect my work to look at the ways in schooling in the normative sense is used as a tool to justify the denial of personhood of undocumented migrants. This paper will look at how policies around schools and schooling, and participation therein, have been used to exclude and further criminalize already criminalized populations. My goal is not to question the importance of education, nor is it to undermine the crucial roles that schools and education play in liberation movements, especially as they are re- imagined, but rather, to question the politics of inclusion that necessarily demand exclusion.

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