UA Researcher's Study of Hispanic Youth Becomes New Book

University of Arizona assistant professor Julio Cammarota has conducted what the book's publisher say is one of the most extensive studies on Hispanic youth.

Cammarota, who teaches at the UA�s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology and the Mexican American Studies and Research Center, wrote the book based on his observations and extensive interviews of youth living in �El Pueblo,� which is the name he gives to the barrio area along the California coast where he conducted his research.

The book, titled "Sue�os Americanos, Barrio Youth Negotiating Social and Cultural Identities," is published by The University of Arizona Press.

�In my research I found that education is a primary route to rewarding employment and economic security," Cammarota said. "And that education is particularly significant for the future prospects of children who are ethnic minorities, were born into disadvantaged economic circumstances, or are dealing with language barriers."

Antonia Darder, "author of Latinos and Education: A Critical Reader," calls Cammarota's book "a fine contribution to the field of Latino Studies."

Cammarota's interviews of Hispanic youth and incisive analyses define the complex relationships among low-wage employment, cultural standards, education, class oppression and gender expectations.

Cammarota first came to the UA in 2002 as a research associate for the University�s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology and has taught numerous subjects, including urban education, the anthropology of education, social theory, cultural studies and also race, class and gender issues.

Prior to coming to the UA, Cammarota received his doctorate doctoral degree in social and cultural studies from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001. His dissertation looked at the first jobs and the work-related perceptions and experiences among Hispanic youth in Oakland, Calif.

He has since published numerous articles on issues related to Hispanic youth, focusing on topics such as family dynamics, class-based polarization and blue collar work.

But earlier, from 1993 to 2000, Cammarota had interviewed and observed 40 youth between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four and selected six of the youth to investigate in depth for "Sue�os Americanos."

His research included observing 20 participants who worked at a fast-food restaurant and 20 others who worked at a community cultural center.

Among other topics, �Sue�os Americanos� investigates the ways that working affects education and ways that Hispanics maintain their distinct ethnic identities while attempting to transcend marginalization.

The book also takes a look at the ways that gender influences social relationships and life choices, reasons why young Hispanics work hard for their families and for a better future and also the connections and disconnections among work, family and school and how they constitute formative processes that shape the cultural identities of the youth.

�Sue�os Americanos� concludes with a discussion of social justice education for Latino youth and how such an educational approach can meet the academic needs of Latino youth while providing opportunities for self-determination and community activism.