Date of Graduation

5-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Xavier Medina Vidal

Committee Member

Angie Maxwell

Second Committee Member

Shirin Saeidi

Keywords

American dream, American identity, Dreamers, Immigration, Social Citizenship, Social research

Abstract

Over a decade ago, the Dreamer movement began, led by young undocumented Latinx youth. These activists became known as "Dreamers" who continue to advocate for a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants. Through media, speeches, and artwork, Dreamers use the cultural narrative of the "American Dream" to create the boundaries of their American identity. Traditionally, American Identity is studied through 4 schools of thought: ethno-culturalism, liberalism, civic republicanism, and incorporationism. I offer an analysis of two concepts of American identity, meritocracy, and hyperdocumentation, that are mostly missing from the American identity literature. Additionally, I propose social citizenship as a theory for measuring how Dreamers ascribe to the American identity both explicitly and implicitly. This thesis uses data from the 2016 Blair Center poll and original data from semi-structured interviews conducted in the Northwest Arkansas Region, offering a nuanced analysis of the boundaries of Americanism for Dreamers today.

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