The next Centre for Mexico-Southampton Collaboration (MeXsu) seminar will be taking place from 5:00-6:30pm on Wednesday 17th February 2016, in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar is entitled ‘The discursive construction of moral agents among Latin American entrepreneurs in Elephant and Castle’ and will be presented by Rosina Márquez-Reiter from the University of Surrey and Adriana Patiño-Santos from the University of Southampton. All welcome!
Here is the abstract for this seminar:
This paper examines stories gathered in sociolinguistic interviews with two Spanish-speaking Latin American entrepreneurs based in Elephant and Castle (Southwark, London) in light of the regeneration of the area and the displacement of many of the Latin American small businesses and residents therein.
Through the voices of these two retailers, who represent relatively successful stories of economic migration and settlement, we analyse how they position themselves and other members of this ethnolinguistic group. The interviewees provide ‘canonical’ accounts of how and why members of the group ought to behave based on expected cultural and moral practices, especially working practices. They do this by positioning themselves as community pioneers on the basis of the length of time spent in the receiving society to gain status and wealth relative to other Latin Americans, especially relatively recent secondary migrants from Spain, and invoking moral values to evaluate others in the group and further distinguish themselves from them.
An interactional discourse analysis of how they construct themselves as moral migrant agents relative to others at such a critical moment highlights that one of the norms on which this community appears to be based holds that the best action is one that maximises personal gain and that community relations are primarily forged by the personal beneficial consequences of members’ actions towards themselves and one another. These, in turn, are considered to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The paper contributes to our understanding of a relatively unexplored ethnic community within the diversity of London by reporting perceptions of the norms on which it is based.