Who does the hard work that keeps groovy Austin going, and what does it feel like? These multi-dimensional life stories show us that it’s a diverse group, but almost everyone has come from elsewhere to chase the Austin Dream, with its glimmers of post-industrial pleasure and promise. From the chicken-processing plant to the strip club, from the delight of intoxication and the simulation of aspirational class ascendency in the glamour zone of glitzy hotels, to the mundane daily routines and bodily brutality of addiction, accidents and injuries, it’s a hard fall and a revolving door of disappointments.
Kudos to Javier Auyero and the talented group at the UT Austin Sociology ethnography lab for bringing back from margin to center the life story method, workers’ everyday struggles, and keeping alive the promise of the sociological imagination.
– Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Author or Paradise Transplanted: Migration and the Making of California Gardens