“The Mexican State and Transmigrant Organizations: Negotiating the Boundaries of Membership and Participation in the Mexican Nation”
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This article examines relations between the Mexican state and transmigrants through an analysis of migrant- and state-Ied transnational practices and policies. It addresses discussions of the strength and extent of Mexican state control and hegemony as well as debates in the transnationalism literature on the potential autonomy of transmigrant groups and the role of subnational linkages. The analysis is based on information on transmigrant organizations and Mexican political authorities in Los Angeles and Mexico and focuses on Zacatecas. Mexican transmigrant organizations predate current state initiatives aimed at Mexicans in the United States, but state involvement has been crucial to the institutionalizing of transnational social spaces. The state's hegemonic project involves the largely symbolic reincorporation of paisanos living abroad back into to the nation but depends on provincial and municipal authorities and transmigrant organizations for implementation. Because these vary, the project has been implemented unevenly. The complexity of these processes can be captured only by examining transnational social spaces at a subnational level. The case of Zacatecas shows how a corporatist and semi-clientelist transmigrant organization has managed to gain concessions that broaden opportunities for participation. It remains to be seen whether and how promises of political representation will be fulfilled.