Synopses & Reviews
In this ground-breaking new book on the Norteña/Sureña (North/South) youth gang dynamic, cultural anthropologist and linguist Norma Mendoza-Denton looks at the daily lives of young Latinas and their innovative use of speech, bodily practices, and symbolic exchanges to signal their gang affiliations and ideologies. She analyzes their use of language as well as social and cultural practices such as the circulation of poetry, photographs, and drawings, and also their practices around makeup and bodily presentation. Through this detailed exploration, Homegirls
examines the localized North-South rivalry between the bilingual, English-speaking and Americanized Norte girls and the Mexican or Latin-American-oriented, Spanish-speaking Sur girls.
Mendoza-Denton uncovers a new dimension to studies of youth styles, where gang members are innovative not only in terms of dress, make-up, and music, but also by participating in crucial processes of language variation and change. This engrossing ethnographic and sociolinguistic book reveals the connection of language behavior and other symbolic practices among youth, and their connections to larger social processes of nationalism, racial/ethnic consciousness, and gender identity.
In this ground-breaking new book on the Norteña and Sureña (North/South) youth gang dynamic, cultural anthropologist and linguist Norma Mendoza-Denton looks at the daily lives of young Latinas and their innovative use of speech, bodily practices, and symbolic exchanges that signal their gang affiliations and ideologies. Her engrossing ethnographic and sociolinguistic study reveals the connection of language behavior and other symbolic practices among Latina gang girls in California, and their connections to larger social processes of nationalism, racial/ethnic consciousness, and gender identity.
- An engrossing account of the Norte and Sur girl gangs - the largest Latino gangs in California
- Traces how elements of speech, bodily practices, and symbolic exchanges are used to signal social affiliation and come together to form youth gang styles
- Explores the relationship between language and the body: one of the most striking aspects of the tattoos, make-up, and clothing of the gang members
- Unlike other studies – which focus on violence, fighting and drugs – Mendoza-Denton delves into the commonly-overlooked cultural and linguistic aspects of youth gangs
About the Author
Norma Mendoza-Denton is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, and the founder and director of the Linguistic Anthropology Research and Teaching Laboratory.
Table of Contents
List of Figures viii
List of Tables x
Acknowledgment of Sources xiv
1 La Migra 10
2 Beginning Fieldwork 42
3 Norte and Sur: Government, School, and Research Perspectives 76
4 Hemispheric Localism: Language, Racialized Nationalism, and the Politicization of Youth 101
5 "Muy Macha": Gendered Performances and the Avoidance of Social Injury 148
6 Smile Now Cry Later: Memorializing Practices Linking Language, Materiality, and Embodiment 176
7 Icons and Exemplars: Ethnographic Approaches in Variationist Sociolinguistics 207
8 Variation in a Community of Practice 230
9 "That's the Whole Thing [tin]!": Discourse Markers and Teenage Speech 265
10 Conclusion 292