Social Sciences, Vol. 12, Pages 63: From Potential “Nini” to “Drop Out”: Undocumented Young People’s Perceptions on the Transnational Continuity of Stigmatizing Scripts
Social Sciences doi: 10.3390/socsci12020063
Based on two years of ethnographic data gathered, including 81 hours of life-history interviews and 70 hours of participant observation with 10 youth who migrated to the United States from Central America, this paper argues that negative labels that often stereotypically depict immigrant youth experiences are often socially imposed on immigrant youth prior to migration. More specifically, this article examines youths&rsquo; understanding and perceptions of the ways in which family members employ socially available &ldquo;stigmatizing scripts.&rdquo; Stigmatizing scripts, as described by study participants, are often used by family members in an attempt to protect youth. Analysis of the data suggests that the youth experienced stigmatizing scripts as a way to describe their lives &ldquo;at-risk&rdquo; and in need of protection, while simultaneously criminalizing many of their experiences. Furthermore, the article details youth description of the transnational continuity of stigmatizing scripts by describing family members &lsquo;usage of scripts but in the US context. The article expands on immigrant families&rsquo; scholarship, highlighting family dynamics and their impacts on youths&rsquo; wellbeing and families&rsquo; unintentional contribution in youths&rsquo; stigmatization and criminalization.