You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go.
-Dr. Seuss

Monday, April 14, 2014

My next prey...well kinda.

Original Article: (Click on the link and read the first chapter/excerpt)

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies
Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, With a Foreword by Philippe Bourgois
Seth Holmes (Author)
Available worldwide
California Series in Public Anthropology

This book is an ethnographic witness to the everyday lives and suffering of Mexican migrants. Based on five years of research in the field (including berry-picking and traveling with migrants back and forth from Oaxaca up the West Coast), Holmes, an anthropologist and MD in the mold of Paul Farmer and Didier Fassin, uncovers how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care. Holmes’ material is visceral and powerful—for instance, he trekked with his informants illegally through the desert border into Arizona, where they were apprehended and jailed by the Border Patrol. After he was released from jail (and his companions were deported back to Mexico), Holmes interviewed Border Patrol agents, local residents, and armed vigilantes in the borderlands. He lived with indigenous Mexican families in the mountains of Oaxaca and in farm labor camps in the United States, planted and harvested corn, picked strawberries, accompanied sick workers to clinics and hospitals, participated in healing rituals, and mourned at funerals for friends. The result is a "thick description" that conveys the full measure of struggle, suffering, and resilience of these farmworkers.

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies weds the theoretical analysis of the anthropologist with the intimacy of the journalist to provide a compelling examination of structural and symbolic violence, medicalization, and the clinical gaze as they affect the experiences and perceptions of a vertical slice of indigenous Mexican migrant farmworkers, farm owners, doctors, and nurses. This reflexive, embodied anthropology deepens our theoretical understanding of the ways in which socially structured suffering comes to be perceived as normal and natural in society and in health care, especially through imputations of ethnic body difference. In the vehement debates on immigration reform and health reform, this book provides the necessary stories of real people and insights into our food system and health care system for us to move forward to fair policies and solutions.

Foreword, by Philippe Bourgois

1. Introduction: “Worth Risking Your Life?”
2. “We Are Field Workers”: Embodied Anthropology of Migration
3. Segregation on the Farm: Ethnic Hierarchies at Work
4. “How the Poor Suffer”: Embodying the Violence Continuum
5. “Doctors Don’t Know Anything”: The Clinical Gaze in Migrant Health
6. “Because They’re Lower to the Ground”: Naturalizing Social Suffering
7. Conclusion: Change, Pragmatic Solidarity, and Beyond

Appendix: On Methods and Contextual Knowledge

Author's Bio:
Seth M. Holmes is an anthropologist and physician. He received his PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, and his M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. He is Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. 
Philippe Bourgois is Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family & Community Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and author, among other books of In Search of Respect (Cambridge, 2000) and Righteous Dopefiend (UC Press, 2010).

"By giving voice to silenced Mexican migrant laborers, Dr. Holmes exposes the links among suffering, the inequalities related to the structural violence of global trade which compel migration, and the symbolic violence of stereotypes and prejudices that normalize racism."—Marilyn Gates New York Journal of Books
"The reader is left with a deep understanding of how injustice in the United States is produced and the strength of the individuals that persevere through it."—Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern Antipode
"Holmes brings an unusual expertise to his writing about migrant Mexican farmworkers. . . . [He] goes far beyond mere observation."—Charles Ealy Austin American Statesman
"The insights gleaned by [Holmes's] participation-observation are priceless."—Michelle A. Gonzalez National Catholic Reporter
"Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in food and the food system. . . . To say that the book provides a vivid look at farm labor is an understatement."—Peter Benson Somatosphere
"A compelling and frightening account of the lives of [Mexican migrant] workers. . . . [Holmes's] tales of crossing the border, doing backbreaking work in the fields, and exploring relationships with these dislocated and largely invisible workers is well worth a read."—Leah Douglas Serious Eats
"A provocative, important new book. . . . Part heart-pounding adventure tale, part deep ethnograhic study, part urgent plea for reform. . . . Holmes brings an enlightening complexity to the issue of migrant workers."—Mark B. San Francisco Bay Guardian
"A provocative, important new book. . . . Part heart-pounding adventure tale, part deep ethnographic study, part urgent plea for reform."—Marke B. Bay Guardian

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