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‘Why do they hate us?’ Reframing immigration through participatory action research

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Why do ‘they’ hate ‘us’? is a painful starting point for trying to make sense of the tangled web of global restructuring, politics and racism. My discussion draws upon ‘Dreaming of No Judgment’, a participatory action research project developed with young people in Salt Lake City, Utah that explores the emotional and economic impacts of stereotypes upon immigrant communities. My analysis focuses upon the disjunctures between the dominant immigration discourse and the everyday experiences of young Latino immigrants. Drawing upon borderlands scholarship, starting with embodied everyday lived experiences and concerns, here I consider how the questions, concerns and feelings of young people offer new openings for reframing immigration. In conclusion, I reflect upon how PAR might be a transformative ‘construction site’ for reworking and responding to social injustices through the arts.

Keywords: Salt Lake City; Utah; arts; immigration; participatory action research; racism; young people

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: City & Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA, Email:

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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