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Migration through Mexico is violent and uncertain, yet in Walking Together we see how this experience bonds some people together like family even though they may not have started that way before the journey.
Migrants in transit form several types of social networks, develop trust, and engage in acts of solidarity. The need to be recognized and grieved, compounded by the practical use of pooling information and resources, leads migrants to form small, strong groups called road families. Through the generalized sharing of information and small items such as food and blankets, migrants also form a transient community that includes everyone on the road at the same time. Sociologist Alejandra Díaz de León shows the trajectories of families that left together, showing, surprisingly, that families might not be the best social arrangement in transit.
Drawing on multisited research, this work contributes to debates on the role of social networks in clandestine migration processes and to discussions on how people create social networks and trust under violent and stressful situations. The detailed ethnographic narratives and accessible writing weave together theory with empirical observations to highlight and humanize the migrant experience.
Alejandra Díaz de León
Professor at El Colegio de México