Transbodied spaces: The home experiences of undocumented Mexicans in Minnesota

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10 Scopus citations


Much of the scholarship around the notion of home draws on ethnographic and phenomenological studies. As a result, the emphasis is on presence, the physical and material existence of people, spaces, and objects. Through the experiences of six undocumented Mexicans living in Minnesota, this article expands inquiry into how private spatial realities intersect with homemaking processes and citizenship production. The argument is that absence is as critical in unraveling what home means as presence. Situating homemaking at the junctures of the presence and absence of bodies, spaces, and objects, the article positions homes as transbodied spaces. Conceiving of homes as transbodied spaces allows for an exploration of how "illegality" diversifies the domestic experience. The resulting production of a private landscape that accounts for presence and absence, endows some undocumented with an immigrant identity that is validated and spatially promoted. In parallel, the spatial constraints they endure can suppress their efforts to carve out meaning and identity, contributing to their "'illegalization." Cognizant of "illegality's" challenges and that social inequalities are partly spatially constructed at both the private and the public levels, and are therefore malleable, scholars and practitioners can rethink their approach to those "living in the shadows."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
JournalSpace and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 21 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014.


  • Mexicans
  • culture
  • home
  • identity
  • illegality


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