In Search of Belonging

Latinas, Media, and Citizenship
Author: Jillian M. Báez
What Latinas seek, and see, of themselves in the media
Cloth – $110
Paper – $26
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 03/12/2018
Cloth: 03/12/2018
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About the Book

In Search of Belonging explores the ways Latina/o audiences in general, and women in particular, make sense of and engage both mainstream and Spanish-language media. Jillian M. Báez’s eye-opening ethnographic analysis draws on the experiences of a diverse group of Latinas in Chicago. In-depth interviews reveal Latinas viewing media images through a lens of citizenship. These women search for nothing less than recognition—and belonging—through representations of Latinas in films, advertising, telenovelas, and TV shows like Ugly Betty and Modern Family. Báez's personal interactions and research merge to create a fascinating portrait, one that privileges the perspectives of the women themselves as they consume media in complex, unpredictable ways.

Innovative and informed by a wealth of new evidence, In Search of Belonging answers important questions about the ways Latinas perform citizenship in today’s America.

About the Author

Jillian M. Báez is an assistant professor in the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.


"Báez skillfully explores how audiences who critique stereotyped Latina characters and the whitewashing of celebrities also engage in contemporary practices of femininity that reflect normative social values. . . . This book is well suited for advanced undergraduate or graduate seminars and provides a strong methodological example for emerging ethnographic researchers." --Journal of Cinema and Media Studies

"In Search of Belonging is the first ethnographic project to consider how Latina audiences decide their cultural, social, and economic value to the nation via media representations of the self." --Latino Studies


"Báez’s timely and pathbreaking book explores the missing link in the literature of Latinx cultural studies, which have focused on matters of production or representation but seldom on Latinx audiences as active agents of their own. Her in-depth ethnography of audiences makes this original work a must-read for scholars working in the fields of Latinx studies, but also media, American studies, and gender studies more generally."--Arlene Dávila, author of El Mall: The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America

"Báez makes a seminal contribution with this smartly researched study. She gives voice to U.S. Latinas as they enact cultural citizenship, offering important insights on how Latinas consume media for a sense of affirmation, belonging, and empowerment."--Mary C. Beltrán, author of Latina/o Stars in U.S. Eyes: The Making and Meanings of Film and TV Stardom


•  Bonnie Ritter Outstanding Feminist Book Award, Feminist & Women Studies Division of the National Communication Association, 2019