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Sociology Colloquium Series Series Presents: Dr. Angela Garcia

On Monday, April 18, 2022, the Sociology Colloquium Series will feature Dr. Angela Garcia from the University of Chicago. Dr. Angela S. García is Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. She is a scholar of migration, membership, law, and the state, with a focus on undocumented migration and US immigration federalism. García’s award-winning book, Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law (University of California Press), compares the impacts of restrictive and accommodating subnational immigration laws for undocumented Mexican immigrants. Her current work includes a book project on middle-aged undocumented immigrants who simultaneously care for their US households and aging parents in communities of origin, and a collaborative study on urban inclusion through Chicago’s municipal ID programs and its response to COVID-19 for marginalized residents. García earned a PhD in Sociology and a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego.

Colloquia Title and Topic:

"Strategic Systems Seeking: When and Why Marginalized Communities Seek Out the State"

People who experience exclusion from the state disproportionally view government as a punitive, surveilling force rather than a benevolent service provider. Marginalized groups—from undocumented immigrants to people involved in the criminal-legal system—thus commonly avoid government and its associated record-keeping systems. At the same time, marginalized communities disproportionately rely on government for essential services. In light of this contradictory relationship, when and why do people who face overlapping systems of marginalization seek out the state? This study develops a relational framework of engagement, arguing that, because marginalized residents have strong incentives to identify needed and low-threat supports, they respond to policies designed around administrative justice—an approach that seeks to attenuate inequitable constituent-state interactions. We apply this relational framework to Chicago’s municipal ID program, CityKey, which launched in 2018. Analyzing interviews (N=196) with ID program enrollees, the study argues that the program’s administrative justice policy design induces strategic system seeking among a diverse set of marginalized communities. This study contributes to scholarship on inequality and policy feedback effects, elucidating the strategic behavior of marginalized groups and the key role of cities in promoting inclusion in the broader polity.

Join us virtually