chapter  2
26 Pages

¡A Mí No Me Manda Nodie! Individualism and Identity in Mexican Ranchero Speech

Mexican migration to Chicago has always been predominantly from Western Mexico

(Año Nuevo Kerr, 1977), notably including the states of Michoacán, Jalisco, and

Guanajuato. These states also are known to be notably ranchero in identity, constituting a distinct subgroup among the larger category of rural Mexican campesinos (peasants). Because of the importance, and predominance, of this identity in Chicago’s Mexican

neighborhoods, and because of close transnational ties between Chicago and innumerable

ranches (rural hamlets) in western Mexico, understandings of Mexicans in Chicago can be enriched by research that explores this group’s origin, not only in terms of geographic

space, but also in terms of cultural and ethnic identity as Mexicans. This chapter, then,

attempts to delve into ranchero identity, focusing in particular on how the cultural attributes of this identity are constructed in speech.