Salinas HolmesEthnography SBS300 Essay

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Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies Ethnography

Israel Salinas
SBS 300 Major ProSeminar: Theory & Method in the Social & Behavioral Sciences
September 19, 2014

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies Ethnography
Holmes, Seth M. Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States. University of California Press, 2013.
The migrant farmworkers in the United States are nothing new to our society. They work from dawn to well in to the afternoon doing hard labor that many of us will not want to do. They do so in low wages, health and work conditions, and harassment in some cases. Seth Holmes conducted his research in and documented it in his book, “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States.” Seth Holmes has his PhD in Anthropology and is an assistant professor in University of California, Berkeley. He focuses on medical anthropology, race and racism, and symbolic violence. The research was constructed between Mexico and the state of California in the United States. It was conducted altogether within a couple of years and was developed with time.
The book concerns itself with the tremendous hardships the migrant farmworkers deal with before arriving to the United States and the way they live and work when they live here. It is difficult for someone to understand what these workers go through just to get here, let alone work the type of job they have. Seth Holmes used his research to have a better understanding of the issues of immigration, health, and the social hierarchy (p. 3). The author had his intention in getting a firsthand experience on observing the lives of the migrant farmworkers. Holmes is reaching out to those readers who may be ignorant to the immigrant lives and also connect to those who may know someone who had to endure the hardships of the migrant farmworker. Developing a connection with those in close relation will have them appreciate that there are people who not only are interested in understanding in immigrant workers, but someone who actually put themselves through the same risks that they did when they crossed the border to try and find some financial gain.
The writer explained his research with a narrative from his journal where he documented events and information important to the research. This is important for the reader because of the details included and words right from the author. Having these notes are essential for one’s research and the validity of it. The author flips from his journal entries to a writing explaining his research and elaborates the information from his journal. Holmes connects and explains his discoveries and informs the reader on how it connects as a federal and social issue.
Holmes used one of the most popular forms of research in the anthropological field, participant observation. Participant observation is when the researcher puts himself in the same setting and situation as their subjects. The researcher goes out and does what the subjects do. They are putting themselves in the other person’s shoes. This was preceded by him choosing to use a framework that consists of him actually gaining a personal perspective in the journey and lives of the immigrants crossing the border and working in the United States. By conducting research with this method the author received information that one cannot easily obtain otherwise. Not everyone experiences what the immigrants do and to partake in this event of crossing and living in harsh conditions deserves a lot of credit. It is a time consuming method and the researcher must be involved in it for a long time. The method has the researcher go through what the subject endures. Seth Holmes went through the process of getting to the border on a packed, hot bus and the actual jumping of the border and putting his life in danger. Border crossing is one of the most terrifying, dangerous, and tiring events one can go through.
Holmes focused on the Triqui people from San Miguel, Oaxaca, Mexico. He met with