Rocio Rosales, 2012-13 DOWNLOAD CV
As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Rosales will engage in research that focuses on a case study of immigrant fruit vendors in Los Angeles, aims to understand how undocumented immigrants working within the informal sector navigate through a distinct regulatory environment and, in the process, build or fail to build lasting connections in the host country. She will expand her current research in two important ways with the ultimate goal of producing a book manuscript.
The research she will conduct as a postdoctoral fellow also attempts to make sense of how vulnerable immigrant populations adapt to life in the US. The cohorts she follows are undocumented Latino immigrants whose illegal status prohibits them from legally participating in the formal workforce. These immigrants’ decision to work as street vendors on public street corners in Los Angeles within the informal sector increases their risk of detection by local (i.e. police and health departments) and federal (ICE) law enforcement agencies. Their survival strategies are thus organized around ethnic-based social networks including kinship and paisano ties.
Her dissertation, “Hidden Economies in Public Spaces: The Fruit Vendors of Los Angeles,” examines the social and economic lives of a group of undocumented Latino street vendors. Her work is situated within and contributes to the ethnic entrepreneur, economic sociology, transnationalism, and immigration literature. At its core, her dissertation is a story about immigrant adaptation. Fruit vendors present an interesting case study because they occupy a precarious position, both within the United States and its labor market, as undocumented and informal workers. Both of these markers open the possibility for state-sponsored retribution in the form of deportation, arrest, confiscation of vending materials, and citation. The fact that street vending is an illicit activity in Los Angeles creates another layer of vulnerability. This work is based on five years of fieldwork using qualitative methods including ethnography, participant observation, and interviews.
Her work has been funded by the American Philosophical Society (2011), John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation (2010), Ford Foundation (2005-2008), and the Social Science Research Council Mellon Mays Foundation (2003-2005). Her research will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and as a chapter in The Migration Industry: Brokers, Buses, and the Business of International Mobility to the United States, edited by Rubén Hernández-León.