Intersectional dignities: Latino immigrant street vendor youth in Los Angeles

Emir Estrada, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In Los Angeles many Latino immigrants earn income through street vending, as do some of their teenagers and younger children. Members of their community and external authorities view these economic activities as deviant, low status, and illegal, and young people who engage in them are sometimes chased by the police and teased by their peers. Why do they consent to do this work, and how do they respond to the threats and taunts? Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with street vending children and teens, the authors argue that an intersectionalities perspective can help explain both why the youth engage in this work and how they construct narratives of intersectional dignities to counter experiences of shame, stigma, and humiliation with street vending. Intersectional dignities refers to moral constructions based on inversions of widely held negative stereotypes of racial ethnic minorities, the poor, immigrants, and in this case, children and girls who earn money in the streets. By analyzing how they counter stigma, one learns something about the structure of the broader society and the processes through which disparaged street vendor youth build affirming identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-131
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Latino immigrant youth
  • children and work
  • informal economy
  • intersectionalities
  • low-wage labor
  • street vending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Intersectional dignities: Latino immigrant street vendor youth in Los Angeles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this