Professor, School of Social and Family Dynamics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
California-Davis, 1992Core Scholarly Themes
Family Dynamics/Race, Ethnicity, MigrationResearch Interests
Cecilia Menjivar's research focuses on the effects of macrostructural processes on individuals' lives and actions. Specifically, she examines the social worlds of individuals who live in hostile and violent environments. In her research such adverse contexts result from different forms of exclusion-legal, social, economic-as well as from institutional, symbolic, and political forms of violence.
Menjivar's research interests can be summarized in two areas. The first focuses on U.S.-bound migration. She has been studying the effects of legal, social and economic exclusion on different spheres of social life among immigrants, such as social networks, family, gender relations, religious participation, and transnational ties, focusing primarily on Central American immigrants in the United States. Also, she has been examining the militarization of the U.S. border and its effects for the immigrants who cross it (or perish in attempts to do so).
Her second site of research interest lies in Latin America, with special attention to Central America. Here she is interested in the effects of structural adjustments on daily life, as seen through the lens of gender. She is also interested in issues of state terror in the region, highlighting the political aspect of world systemic relations. Based on fieldwork she undertook in Guatemala, Menjivar has been writing about the effects that multiple forms of violence-institutional, political, gender, symbolic-have on the social worlds (i.e., gender relations, family, networks, work and religion) of Ladinas and indigenous women.