Narcocorridos: Mexican Immigrant Women and Chicano Youth Identities (1970s to Present)
Valle Ramirez, Obdulia
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The narcocorrido is a popular genre of music that has crystallized with the formation of the narcocultura or drug culture, caused by the US-Mexican drug war. I examine the formation of the narcocorrido from the 1940s onward through the social-historical context of US anti-immigrant laws. I argue that the narcocorrido, as a form of popular music, captures Mexican immigrant women’s and Chicano youth’s identities in order to appropriate US conceptions of their “illegality,” as a way to defy US authorities. To show how the narcocorrido captures Mexican immigrant women and Chicano youth, I analyze the construction of these identities through US anti-immigrant laws that have caused the social “illegalization” of these two identities. Also, I analyze how the transformed gender roles of Mexican immigrant women and Chicano youth criminality are presented in the narcocorrido through mujeres bravas and the narcotraficante. I use a multidisciplinary approach for this thesis including: transnationalism, popular culture, historical analysis, social-political analysis regarding US immigration laws, and close readings of narcocorridos. This thesis goes against the idea that narcocorridos are created to encourage criminality. Instead, I propose that narcocorridos are created to both historicize the US-Mexican drug war and to celebrate Mexican “illegality” as a way for Chicano youth and Mexican immigrant women to heal from the constant marginalization of their identities in US society.