From vaqueros to mafiosos : a community history of drug trafficking in rural South Texas
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My dissertation, From Vaqueros to Mafiosos: A Community History of Drug Trafficking in Rural South Texas is an ethnographic study of the impact of the drug trade in South Texas, with a specific focus on Starr County. This dissertation examines drug trafficking along the U.S-Mexico Border at two levels of analysis. First, through historical ethnography, I provide a cultural history of South Texas, as well as a specific history of drug trafficking in Starr County. In doing so, I highlight the different trafficking practices that emerge throughout South Texas’ history, and I document the social changes that develop in Starr County as a result of these illicit practices. The second half of my dissertation, however, is devoted to a contemporary analysis of the impact of the drug trade on the border region by analyzing important social practices in Starr County relating to drug abuse, policing and the criminal justice system, youth socialization and family life. Through ethnography I present the devastating effects of the drug trade and border policing on this Mexican American border community in rural South Texas.