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Temple University

1. McDowell, Garrett Alexandrea. Eating Potato Chips with Chopsticks: Nikkei Latin Americans Making Home, Shaping Family and Defining Selves.

Degree: PhD, 2009, Temple University

Anthropology

This dissertation examines the effects of return migration on Nikkei (of Japanese descent) sending communities in the Soconusco Region (Acacoyagua), Chiapas, Mexico and Lima, Peru. Massive numbers of Nikkei Latin Americans have been returning to Japan in the last two decades filling a shortage in low-skill labor. The Nikkei mass exodus is indicative of the global economic pattern that has caught Latin American countries in a downward economic spiral resulting in joblessness and class polarization. For many, transnational migration is the only viable option for economic survival. This research illustrates how Nikkei are strategically making home, shaping family and defining selves through return migration. Nikkei Latin Americans (those who go and those who stay) approach return as Ganbatteando (doing one's best) embracing and making-their-own the Japanese concept of Ganbarimas. This study examines the local impacts of a global phenomenon broadening the traditional anthropological approach on spatially localized groups to address identity-formation as a discursive phenomenon situated in-between, across and outside, yet still connected to fixed or bounded locations or nations. I explore how Japanese in Latin America reconcile their Japanese roots with their embedded experience in their Latin American birthplace as well as their newest and current experiences in Japan to construct variable, changing and unique identities. Nikkei, situated in and creating a temporal and spatial borderzone are forming, reforming, and transforming home, family and identity as their local communities and marriage options, are depleted. By incorporating non-Nikkei-but-Nikkei-enthusiasts, Nikkei are sustaining and reinforcing endogamous marriage at a time when the emigration of large numbers of marriageable-aged Nikkei make that otherwise impossible. In this process, they are making intimate choices: reasserting ethnic strongholds in the homes of their choice, shifting and strategically broadening kinship and community boundaries, and at the same time more strictly regulating inclusion and exclusion. Nikkei are eating potato chips with chopsticks at the same time that non-Nikkei in Latin America are frying sushi.

Temple University – Theses

Advisors/Committee Members: Goode, Judith, Grasmuck, Sherri, Winegar, Jessica, Takenaka, Ayumi.

Subjects/Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural; Nikkei; Return migration; transnationalism

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

McDowell, G. A. (2009). Eating Potato Chips with Chopsticks: Nikkei Latin Americans Making Home, Shaping Family and Defining Selves. (Doctoral Dissertation). Temple University. Retrieved from http://digital.library.temple.edu/u?/p245801coll10,46251

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

McDowell, Garrett Alexandrea. “Eating Potato Chips with Chopsticks: Nikkei Latin Americans Making Home, Shaping Family and Defining Selves.” 2009. Doctoral Dissertation, Temple University. Accessed March 07, 2021. http://digital.library.temple.edu/u?/p245801coll10,46251.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

McDowell, Garrett Alexandrea. “Eating Potato Chips with Chopsticks: Nikkei Latin Americans Making Home, Shaping Family and Defining Selves.” 2009. Web. 07 Mar 2021.

Vancouver:

McDowell GA. Eating Potato Chips with Chopsticks: Nikkei Latin Americans Making Home, Shaping Family and Defining Selves. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Temple University; 2009. [cited 2021 Mar 07]. Available from: http://digital.library.temple.edu/u?/p245801coll10,46251.

Council of Science Editors:

McDowell GA. Eating Potato Chips with Chopsticks: Nikkei Latin Americans Making Home, Shaping Family and Defining Selves. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Temple University; 2009. Available from: http://digital.library.temple.edu/u?/p245801coll10,46251

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