book spotlight: learning to be latino by daisy reyes


Learning to be Latino: How Colleges Shape Identity Politics by Daisy Reyes is a really interesting and much needed book on the experience of Latino/a/x people in higher education. Ethnographic in approach, Reyes details the different ways that Latinx people do student group politics at three campuses, a liberal arts school, a research university, and a regional campus.

To summarize, Reyes argues that the liberal arts school encourages a communal approach to ethnic identity, the research school promotes competition among Latinx groups, and the regional campus has more disconnected students. This makes a lot of sense to me, as these campuses have different arrays of social and financial resources that will make it easier or harder to pursue different types of student organizing.

One lingering question I had was about self-selection. Let’s take liberal arts colleges. Are student groups more communally oriented because they draw students who enjoy discussion and small group interaction? Or is there a treatment effect where the liberal arts college teaches people to interact in this way? Reyes does not have the data to settle this issue, but a future researchers could track high school students into college and look at their action in school.

I think this is a great book for scholars interested in higher education, Latinx education, and student affairs. For the organizational studies crowd, it is a good way to think about how mobilization within organizations may, or may not depend, on the resources of the group. Recommended!


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Written by fabiorojas

May 8, 2019 at 12:12 am

Posted in uncategorized

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