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In Search of a Better Death

In Search of a Better Death

Transnational Landscapes for Aging and Dying

(p.166) 5 In Search of a Better Death
The Remittance Landscape
Sarah Lynn Lopez
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the material culture of aging and death for migrants facing “retirement,” whose years working to remit are behind them. Migrants live in the U.S. with persistent questions about if and when they will “return” to their hometowns. In anticipation of return, some are building old age homes in Mexico. Examining emigrants’ construction of an asilo anciano (old age home) in Los Guajes in preparation for their retirement in Mexico exposes the Mexican state’s ambivalence regarding its responsibility toward emigrants who can no longer work. This chapter argues that long-distance building practices require an expanded notion of the public to include new administrative capacities and services that care for norteños now integral to the community but physically absent from it.

Keywords:   old age, ambivalence, transnational migration, death, burial practices, retirement, norteños

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