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Intersectional Histories, Overdetermined Fortunes: Understanding Mexican and US Domestic Worker Movements

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Intersectional Histories, Overdetermined Fortunes: Understanding Mexican and US Domestic Worker Movements


What determines whether movements of informal workers succeed or fail? Using cases of domestic-worker movements in Mexico and the United States, Tilly seeks to  build upon the literature on soical movements and intersectionality by adding historical analysis of the movements’ evolution through a cross-national analysis of movement differences.

Historically, these two movements have been propelled by multiple streams of activism corresponding to shifting salient intersectional identities and frames, always including gender but incorporating other elements as well. Comparatively, the US domestic-worker movement recently has had greater success due to superior financial resources and greater political opportunities – advantages due in part precisely to intersectional identities resonant with potential allies. However, this relative advantage was not always present and may not persist. By comparing the historical changes and cross-national contrasts between these two movements, Tilly draws greater conclusions about informal-worker organizing and its potential for social change.




 Chris Tilly is a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. He formerly served as Chair of the Board at Grassroots International, and editor of Dollars and Sense, a popular economics magazine. His research has involved issues of community development, labor and employment.

In addition to his academic work, he has written for the Huffington Post and been quoted in the New York Times on issues of labor market inequality and public policy. 



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Map Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley, United States
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