Applying Anthropology to Contemporary Policy Issues

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  938 Words
Date:  2022-05-06

In the contemporary world, there are many factors that change the way people perceive certain things and situations. Anthropology is one such discipline which ensures that individuals are able to view life in a positive way. The effect of anthropology is clearly reflected in Gomberg-Munoz` work in her book, Labor, and Legality, where she elaborates the manner in which Mexican immigrants lead their life and also how they strive to obtain legal documentation within the United States. It is evident that ethnographic research in Anthropology is a resourceful tool to be used in comprehended individuals` social constructs as will be illustrated below.

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Question 1

Gomberg-Munoz uses her positionality to gather information from Mexican immigrants. She manages to work her way through the education system by doing odd jobs in order to pay for her fees. In the course of her duty as a waitress, she met some Mexican immigrants and sought to establish how immigration works. One of the main methods she used in her research was an inductive inquiry which involved conducting interviews with up to 100 middle-class migrants. Most of the participants in her study are in the legalization phase, and they are also members of nuclear families. In addition to this Gomberg-Munoz volunteers to work at an immigration clinic in Chicago. This is part of her initiative to undertake her study successfully. Besides, a greater part of her study involves a 10 member Mexican group of individuals whom she introduces as bus boys she met at her workstation (Gomberg-Munoz 32). Each of these individuals is committed to improving the status of their family. The reason why she manages to undertake a successful study is due to the fact that she uses the approach of a learner in order to gather information, even from some unsuspecting people. This is one of the chief techniques of ethnographic research which she understood quite well.

Question 2

Gomberg-Munoz describes how the Lions developed a wide range of social strategies to help them cope with lives in Chicago. While undertaking her ethnography, she was able to learn that one of the strategies used by the Lions was work. These individuals adapted quickly to the life in Chicago by seeking to work as busboys in order to cater for their families. This strategy endeared them to their employers who were well aware of their hard work thus ensuring that they were not easily dispensable. Besides, the social play had a significant impact on the lives of the Lions. In this case, if one of them was ill, someone would volunteer to cover for him (Gomberg-Munoz 95). This ensured that all of them were able to keep their jobs and also gain significant recognition from the employer (Gomberg-Munoz 95). In addition to this, the individuals had a great social network which was effective in binding ties between them and those back at home in Mexico. The immigrants inform their relatives and friends of opportunities existent and ask them to take advantage of them (Gomberg-Munoz 65). All this happens regardless of the fact that they are undocumented immigrants.

Question 3

In order to come up with a compelling argument, which she successfully does, Gomberg-Munoz decides to focus on 10 specific individuals whom she labeled the "Lions". This ensured that she was able to gather ample information which she used in her study and was also able to maintain a close relationship with the participants of her study thus convincing them to disclose personal information. Her positionality enables her to be successful in gathering information since she commands power and authority by the idea that she was a legal citizen unlike those she was interviewing. Many negative analyses had been established prior to her study and she sought to undermine such inconclusive research by revealing the way of life of the Mexican immigrants who not only contributed to social harmony but also worked hard to guarantee a place for them and their families in the society. Further, still, her epilogue demonstrates that the lives of the workers she was interrogating did not remain the same way, but rather improved owing to their determination (Gomberg-Munoz 137).

Question 4

According to the information provided in the book, it is apparent that the anthropological perspective is fundamental since it enables the anthropologist to gather viable information for a certain study. Techniques of anthropology adopted by Gomberg-Munoz such as ethnography ensure that she effectively manages to gather information for her study. Further still, due to anthropology, it has become possible to understand the cultural life of immigrants in order to comprehend how this assists them to cope with life while living in a foreign domicile. Most importantly, readers get to understand that Mexican immigrants are not how they perceive them to be. Instead, they are hardworking and dedicated groups of people despite their undocumented status. Anthropological perspectives, therefore, manage to offer individuals a different view of life in a way that is different from what they imagined.

Question 5

The articles have been very influential and changed the way I perceive the world around me. Initially, I just thought that it was unjust for Mexican immigrants to be in the country illegally since this is an unjust cause. Based on the ethnographic research, it is now evident that majority of immigrants are seeking to offer a better life for their families. The Lions appear to be doing everything possible to ensure that they get better opportunities for promotion besides gaining the approval of those who employ them which would be instrumental towards ensuring that they acquire legal documentation as American Citizens.

Works Cited

Gomberg-Munoz, Ruth. Labour and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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Applying Anthropology to Contemporary Policy Issues. (2022, May 06). Retrieved from

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