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Performances of Suffering in Latin American Migration

Heroes, Martyrs and Saints

Authors: Puga, Ana Elena, Espinosa, Victor M.

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  • Continues longstanding efforts to help denaturalize migrant suffering and promote migrant rights 
  • Demonstrates how nineteenth-century subgenres – the race melodrama, domestic melodrama, and sensation melodrama – in fact still structure the way we think today 
  • Cuts across a wide variety of genres and media, including theater/performance, poetry, film, news media accounts, and social performances in daily life 
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eBook 58,84 €
price for Germany (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-37409-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 74,89 €
price for Germany (gross)
About this book

This book questions the reliance on melodrama and spectacle in social performances and cultural productions by and about migrants from Mexico and Central America to the United States. Focusing on archetypal characters with nineteenth-century roots that recur in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries – heroic saviors, saintly mothers and struggling fathers, martyred children and rebellious youth – it shows how theater practitioners, filmmakers, visual artists, advocates, activists, journalists, and others who want to help migrants often create migrant melodramas, performances that depict their heroes as virtuous victims at the mercy of evil villains. In order to gain respect for the human rights that are supposedly already theirs on paper and participate in a global market that trades in performances of suffering, migrants themselves sometimes accept the roles into which they are cast, or even cast themselves. Some express their suffering publicly, often on demand. Others find ways to twist, parody, resist, or reject migrant melodrama.   
        

Timely, beautifully written, and deeply researched, Puga’s and Espinosa’s study captures the complex nuances of how performance scholars and ethnographers grapple with telling stories of and bearing witness to trauma. They invite scholars to re-imagine the narrative genres into which histories of migration are often coerced. They question how familiar forms such as melodrama can empower or dis-empower individuals struggling to share their stories and change their circumstances. Their thoughtful work offers a compassionate and erudite model for performance ethnographers.


Heather S. Nathans

Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor in Judaic Studies

Tufts University

  

In their penetrating analysis, Puga and Espinosa show how militarized borders, neoliberal economics, exclusionary immigration policies, and rising nativism have combined to create an ongoing melodrama in which migrants, journalists, and rescuers perform scripted roles as martyrs, saints, and heroes in an effort to sway a global audience of onlookers. Although the protagonists in this melodrama seek to relieve the suffering of migrants by valorizing their pain and using it as a currency in a  political economy of suffering, the authors’ sympathetic but critical analysis reveals both the promise and perils of this emotive strategy. Their analysis is essential to understanding how immigration is portrayed and perceived in the world today.

 

Douglas S. Massey

Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs

Princeton University

 

Ana Elena Puga and Víctor M. Espinosa’s Performances of Suffering is well-researched and compellingly theorized collaboration which reveals the affective labor performed by, with and for migrants in the United States and Mexico. In these perilous times, the lessons that this book teaches us about the performance of melodrama as a key aspect of obtaining justice and care for migrants throughout the hemisphere are crucial to understanding representations of “migrant crises” in our contemporary social media, performance and advocacy movements.

 

Patricia Ybarra

Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
Brown University

 

In this fascinating book, Puga and Espinosa illuminate the political economy of suffering among Latin American migrants. This is a timely and important work to understand how migrants, the state, humanitarian workers, and the media all perform the melodrama of the suffering migrant. An impressive and provocative book!

 

Carolyn Chen

Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies

University of California at Berkeley

 

         

About the authors

Ana Elena Puga is an Associate Professor at the Departments of Theatre and Spanish & Portuguese at The Ohio State University. A scholar, translator, and dramaturge, she is the author of Allegory, Memory, and Testimony: Upstaging Dictatorship (Routledge 2008) and Finished from the Start and Other Plays by Juan Radrigan (Northwestern University Press 2008).

Víctor M. Espinosa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at The Ohio State University. A sociologist specializing in transnational migration and art, he is the author of El dilema del retorno (El Colegio de Michoacán 1999) and Martín Ramírez: Framing His Life and Art (University of Texas Press 2015).

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 58,84 €
price for Germany (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-37409-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 74,89 €
price for Germany (gross)

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Performances of Suffering in Latin American Migration
Book Subtitle
Heroes, Martyrs and Saints
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-37409-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-37409-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-37408-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 372
Number of Illustrations
13 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour
Topics