Sergio Chávez

Dr. Sergio Chávez is an associate professor of sociology at Rice University. He received his B.A. in sociology from the University of California Davis and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Dr. Chávez has conducted field research in Tijuana and Guanajuato, Mexico and North Carolina on internal and international migration, labor markets, social networks, and the border. His book BORDER LIVES (2016) examines the dynamic migration and working strategies border migrants employ on a daily basis as immigration policies, border enforcement, economic restructuring, and social resources evolve in the cross-border urban environment of Tijuana. He is working on a second book (with Robin Paige) that investigates the centrality of emotions in the migration process and how non-migrant women support the paid labor of their migrant spouses. He has also worked on the Study of Health and Migration in Mexico (SHMM) that compares the health status of non-migrants and return migrants. His other research investigates the meaning that unauthorized migrants who work in the roofing industry give to their jobs. This project investigates how masculinity shapes the way men perform their jobs, how they deal with injuries and sickness, and how they draw on social support from family and friends to overcome isolation and dangerous working conditions.


Sergio Chávez and Claire E. Altman (Forthcoming). “Gambling with Life: The Occupational Risks of Being an Unauthorized Migrant Roofer in the United States.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine. DOI 10.1002/ajim.22721

Ashton Verdery, Ted Mouw, Heather Edelblute, and Sergio Chávez (In Press). “Communication Flows in a Transnational Social Field.” Social Networks.

Sergio Chávez (2016). Border Lives: Fronterizos, Transnational Migrants, and Commuters in Tijuana. New York: Oxford University Press. [link]

Ted Mouw, Sergio Chávez, Heather Edelblute, and Ashton Verdery (2014). “Binational Social Networks and Assimilation: A Test of the Importance of Transnationalism.” Social Problems, 61(3): 329-359. [link]

Ted Mouw and Sergio Chávez (2012). “Linguistic Niches and the Wage Growth of Latino Immigrants.” Social Forces, 91(2):423-452. [link]

Sergio Chávez (2012). “The Sonoran Desert’s Domestic Bracero Programme: Institutional Actors and the Creation of Labour Migration Streams.” International Migration, 50(2): 20-40. [link]

Sergio Chávez (2011). “Navigating the U.S.-Mexico Border: The Crossing Strategies of Undocumented Workers in Tijuana, Mexico.” Ethnic and Racial Studies. 34(8): 1320-1337. [link]

Magalí Muría and Sergio Chávez (2011). “Shopping and Working in the Borderlands: Enforcement, Surveillance and Marketing in Tijuana, Mexico.” Surveillance and Society 8(3): 355-373. [link]

Sergio Chávez (2005). “Community, Ethnicity, and Class in a Changing Rural California Town,” Rural Sociology 70(3): 28-49. [link]

Research Areas

Internal and international migration, work, border studies, social networks, gender, emotions, qualitative and ethnographic methods.


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