Working with la Familia
The introduction sets the context for the study of street vending children who work side by side with their undocumented parents in Los Angeles. This chapter outlines the various strategies the researcher used to enter the field, recruit the families, and establish rapport with the children and their parents. The author also describes the research site and the research methodology. The author is reflexive about her insider and outsider position and describes how having worked as a young girl with her parents both in Mexico and the United States helped her gain the trust of her respondents. In addition, the introduction situates the role of children and work in a historical context and provides a theoretical framework to help understand the lives of child vendors in Los Angeles. The experience of child street vendors bridges intersectionality theory, social capital theory, and the socialization of childhood and brings to light the hidden resources that are overshadowed by segmented assimilation theory, the leading theory that has been used to understand the experience of post-1965 immigrants and their children. The chapter also introduces the four overarching research questions that guide this research and provides a roadmap of the book.
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