In The Near Northwest Side Story, Gina M. Pérez offers an intimate and unvarnished portrait of Puerto Rican life in Chicago and San Sebastian, Puerto Rico—two places connected by a long history of circulating people, ideas, goods, and information. Pérez's masterful blend of history and ethnography explores the multiple and gendered reasons for migration, why people maintain transnational connections with distant communities, and how poor and working-class Puerto Ricans work to build meaningful communities.
Pérez traces the changing ways that Puerto Ricans have experienced poverty, displacement, and discrimination and illustrates how they imagine and build extended families and dense social networks that link San Sebastian to barrios in Chicago. She includes an incisive analysis of the role of the state in shaping migration through such projects as the Chardon Plan, Operation Bootstrap, and the Chicago Experiment. The Near Northwest Side Story provides a unique window on the many strategies people use to resist the negative consequences of globalization, economic development, and gentrification.
Gina M. Pérez is Assistant Professor of Latina/o Studies in the Comparative American Studies Program at Oberlin College.
"An original and significant contribution to Puerto Rican, Latino, and Latin American studies, drawing on the perspective of ordinary men and women. Gina Pérez's fine work is based on intensive research in two distant but interconnected places, conducted by a perceptive and sensitive observer-participant, herself immersed in two languages, cultures, and nations. Clearly written and cogently argued, her book will be of great interest to students of migration, ethnicity, and gender."—Jorge Duany, author of The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and in the United States
"In this fresh, textured, original, multi-sited ethnography, Pérez traces the changing ways that Puerto Ricans have experienced poverty, displacement, and discrimination, and how they imagine and build deeply rooted but transnational lives through the extended families, dense social networks, and meaningful communities. Pérez exposes the limits of citizenship for racialized minorities; the contradictory, constrained agency in community mobilizations and urban uprisings; and the often-failed promise of transnational migration as a place to build a counter-hegemonic political space."—Brett Williams, Professor of Anthropology, American University
"This is a fascinating account of transnational migration as survival strategy, one bound up in kin, region, and economic restructuring."—Vicki L. Ruiz, author of From Out of the Shadows
Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Prize for the Critical Study of North America, SANA, Society for North American anthropologists