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More than violence: UndocuQueers’ narratives of disidentification and world-making in Seattle, Washington, USA

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In this article, I re-present the lives of undocumented people away from violence to argue that undocumented queer Latinx migrants, or UndocuQueers, engage in disidentification processes to transform spaces for themselves in the present and imagine more inclusive futures. Disidentification is a practice whereby people, specifically those who are outsiders from mainstream culture, identify with a norm and repurpose it for a different end and interest, performing a new world for themselves. UndocuQueers employ disidentification to traverse spatial configurations of marginalization and exclusion. Centering a narrative focus on UndocuQueers, this article argues that UndocuQueers disidentify with multiple ideas, such as those of the good citizen and good immigrant, to navigate and create spaces to connect with others in Seattle. This article juxtaposes geographic literature alongside queer of color theorizing to first reframe UndocuQueer as an identity process and as a cartography of social practices. I then describe how UndocuQueers’ disidentificatory practices enable them to repurpose norms in a club, an airport, and an agricultural field. UndocuQueers use this geography of disidentification to center relationality and kinship in their visions of a more just future within the realms of education, art, and social justice. I conclude that the vulnerability that UndocuQueers experience does not prevent them from being agents in the production of social, political, and spatial practices. Rather, they are constantly engaged in a project of world-making that is nuanced, open, and relational.
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Keywords: Disidentification; Latinx; UndocuQueer; narratives; place-making; social practices

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Publication date: December 2, 2018

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