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At home in inner-city immigrant community gardens

Abstract

This paper extends the definition of the domestic sphere to include urban community gardens, which I argue serve as critical “home-like” places that marginalized Latina/o immigrants use to sustain themselves and to re-create homeland in urban Los Angeles. Based on over 1 year of ethnographic and interview research at the gardens, I argue that the immigrant community gardeners are creating new homes, attachments and means of livelihood that link their past with the present, restoring them during this historical moment of the US immigration crisis in deportations and detentions. A range of social reproductive and restorative activities normally associated with the private domestic sphere unfold at these community gardens, allowing us to see these sites as shared open-air domiciles, hybrid-domestic places, set among plant nature. I suggest that focusing on the everyday practices, the materiality and meanings of place may productively shift our theoretical gaze from understanding migration experiences only through the lens of assimilation or transnationalism, and toward one that acknowledges active assertions organized around the right to home-making.

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Notes

  1. Space constraints in this article do not allow me to explain how the two gardens were started, who owns the land, how the gardens are managed, and how plots are assigned, but I discuss these issues elsewhere (Hondagneu-Sotelo 2014).

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Correspondence to Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo.

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Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. At home in inner-city immigrant community gardens. J Hous and the Built Environ 32, 13–28 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-015-9491-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-015-9491-0

Keywords

  • Immigrants
  • Home
  • Belonging
  • Urban community gardens
  • Hybrid-domestic place
  • Social reproduction