Eating and Feeding at the Margins of the State: Barriers to Health Care for Undocumented Migrant Women and the "Clinical" Aspects of Food Assistance

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article, I examine the various meanings of Mexican and Central American migrant women's utilization of private food assistance programs. I present findings from 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2008 and 2011 with migrant women, public health workers, and staff and volunteers of food assistance programs in Santa Barbara County, California. I discuss the barriers undocumented women face in accessing formal health care and the social and moral obligations that underpin these women's role in feeding others. I also document the ways in which private food assistance programs are orienting toward a focus on health in service delivery, and how women depend on provisions from these programs to support feeding practices at home. I argue that these findings are significant for current engagement by critical medical anthropologists in studying framings of "the clinic" and cultural beliefs about "deservingness."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-215
Number of pages20
JournalMedical anthropology quarterly
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Care
  • Deservingness
  • Food assistance
  • Illegality
  • The clinic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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