Making the Immigrant Soldier
About the BookImmigrants to the United States have long used the armed forces as a shortcut to citizenship. Cristina-Ioana Dragomir profiles Lily, Alexa, and Vikrant, three immigrants of varying nationalities and backgrounds who chose military service as their way of becoming American citizens. Privileging the trio’s own words and experiences, Dragomir crafts a human-focused narrative that moves from their lives in their home countries and decisions to join the military to their fraught naturalization processes within the service. Dragomir illuminates how race, ethnicity, class, and gender impacted their transformation from immigrant to soldier, veteran, and American. She explores how these factors both eased their journeys and created obstacles that complicated their access to healthcare, education, economic resources, and other forms of social justice.
A compelling union of analysis and rich storytelling, Making the Immigrant Soldier traces the complexities of serving in the military in order to pursue the American dream.
About the AuthorCristina-Ioana Dragomir is a clinical assistant professor in global liberal studies at New York University. She consults with the United Nations, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the International Organization for Migration. She is the author of Power on the Move: Adivasi and Roma Accessing Social Justice.
“An important work. The stories of Lily, Alexa, and Vikrant are extraordinarily compelling. By the time I arrived at the conclusions, I felt I knew them personally and had developed a sense of the lived experience of immigrant life in the military and after military service, including its complex trade-offs for socioeconomic mobility. We clearly need an intersectional lens to disentangle these experiences and their connection to citizenship.”--Noelle Brigden, author of The Migrant Passage: Clandestine Journeys from Central America
“Cristina Dragomir masterfully unveils her own trajectory, and that of three immigrants from three different locations, to investigate the role identities and their intersections employ in a soldier’s naturalization progress. By conjoining theoretical and historical analysis with life stories, Dragomir’s Making the Immigrant Soldier brings the power of her writing to make you hear, to feel, and ultimately to see, by using qualitative and interpretive methods to full force. Her story speaks to our capacity to understand the world of the immigrant at a time when the struggle to become citizens is most acute. Dragomir offers a brilliant micro-sociological analysis in her insightful ethnographic exploration. A must read for social scientists, policy makers, and everyday citizens eager to experience firsthand the craft of engaged ethnography. This is essentially the classic American story, since race, ethnicity, gender, and class are all represented. With painstaking rigor, Dragomir brings years of fieldwork to fruition, revealing how the transformation to soldier is a hazardous, arduous journey, full of fellowship, wonder, and mystery.”--Terry Williams, author of Harlem Supers: The Social Life of a Community in Transition