Swanson, Kate and Torres, Rebecca (2016) “Child Migration and Transnationalized Violence in the Americas,” Journal of Latin American Geography 15(3): 23-48.

The article focuses on how the migration outbreak derives from transnational state policies and practices which pose negative effects on the lives of migrant children. The research highlights the historical component of the problem: structural violence and normalized violence. Structural violence is a product of U.S. economic and political intervention in Latin America. On the other hand, normalized violence refers to violence that has become a social and political norm in the perspective of the involved communities and institutions. The authors summarize the importance of understanding how implemented socioeconomic inequalities, border enforcement, children detention, and mass deportations all deteriorate the lives of migrant children. Specifically, the authors argue that the journey, the border, detention, deportation, and repatriation pose inevitable physical and mental trauma. Thus, the article uses a strong historical background to expose the violation of human rights by analyzing the experiences of migrant children. 

In the article, Kate Swanson and Rebecca Maria Torres examine the sociopolitical elements which have led to the violence and migration epidemic. The methodology of the research involved a participatory workshop of migrant children who shared their perception of migration and the dangers of the journey. Through the workshops, the authors received narratives and drawings that illustrate positive and negative ideas of the “American dream.” Children were very detailed with the causes of their migration; all with a connection to poverty, violence, and political chaos. The drawings and narratives developed credibility to the source because they give a profound insight of the violence migrant children confront. The authors were able to grasp onto evidence of structural and normalized violence and demonstrate how transnational policies fuel migration violence. Notably, the article also provides a sense of hope to the transnational problem because it humanizes the journey of each child.

Overall, the article is essential in my own research because it highlights the convergence between historical elements and the ongoing effects of children migration. The abruption of violence and the continuous political instability in Latin American governments has led people of all age groups to enter a state of despair for a better life. Thus, we must understand the historical ties because it allows us to analyze the problem from a critical lens and avoid a “normalized” stance. I will focus my research on the transnational policies which have led to Venezuelan migration. I will use a similar approach in order to obtain a deeper understanding of Venezuelan instability and how it contributes to the violation of human rights. 

I selected this image from the article because it shows the effects of structural and normalized violence on migrant children. The drawing is powerful and we must build awareness on this human rights issue.
Drawing of a 5thgrade girl that reflects the dangers of her journey.

article: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/639098/pdf

About Julio Gonzalez

UWP 1Y Student

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