“Everything Went Boom”: Kinship Narratives of Transfronterizo University Students

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This article explores the interrelatedness of cross-border mobility, kinship, and higher education among transfronterizo, or border-crossing, university students in South Texas. Analysis of chronotopic (time–space) contrasts in students’ kinship narratives reveals that changes in mobility, occasioned by sociopolitical upheaval and students’ educational choices, were linked to fears about cultural change. Students referred to the replacement of traditional Mexican-origin kinship, exemplified in a childhood chronotope of cross-border gatherings of extended family, with a “more American” way of being family. The participants explored various understandings of risk and the implications for kinship practice and discussed the material difficulties of maintaining ties to extended family across the border. Beyond expressing anxieties about cultural change, the students, as emerging adults, used the narratives to position themselves in complex ways with respect to social and cultural transformations in the borderlands, considering their own complicity in these changes and reasserting their legitimacy as cross-border subjects. [educación, Estados Unidos, lingüística, México, migración transfronteriza, parentesco].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-262
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019



  • education
  • kinship
  • linguistics
  • Mexico
  • transborder migration
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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