Author Archives: Susan Bibler Coutin

About Susan Bibler Coutin

Susan Bibler Coutin is professor of criminology, law and society, and anthropology at University of California, Irvine, where she is also associate dean for academic programs in the School of Social Ecology. Her most recent book, Exiled Home: Salvadoran Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence (Duke University Press, 2016), examines how 1.5-generation Salvadoran youth in the United States and in El Salvador navigate nationbased categories of belonging.

Shapeshifting Displacement: Notions of Membership and Deservingness Forged by Illegalized Residents

Abstract: This paper considers how accounts produced by illegalized residents in the United States shapeshift US immigration enforcement regimes by defining narrators and their communities as “belonging.” Anthropologist Aimee Cox develops the notion of “shapeshifting” to refer to how groups that are deemed “social problems” redefine the institutions within which they are embedded. The illegalized residents interviewed for this paper redefined US immigration law and policy as arbitrary, racially biased, and exploitative, even as they argued that they deserved status in the United States. Such Continue reading → Continue reading →