In recent years, as the number of Latina and Latinos living in the United States have increased, Latinidad-the cultural state and process of being, becoming, or appearing Latina or Latino-has become not only a widely culturally intelligible identity but also a culturally desirable ethnicity, style, and corporeal practice. Recently and historically, the construction and transformation of Latinidad has been produced and mobilized primarily, though not exclusively, through mass mediated discourse and other modes of public culture. This chapter examines the popular culture narratives and symbolic strategies surrounding the signification of Latina bodies against the background of contemporary and public discourses about Latinas to interrogate the tensions of policing and producing racialized and gendered bodies. In particular, we focus on Latina women with widely circulated media representations and analyze these popular narratives by engaging with Foucault's concept of normalization as an instrument of power and discipline to theorize through the tension between racial and ethnic hybridity/multiplicity and racial and ethnic homogenization/fragmentation. Given the way mass communication is both informative and informed by the contemporary U.S. discursive formation about race, ethnicity, gender, and identity, we conclude by contextualizing our analysis within the terrain of public talk about Latina health and bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGoverning the Female Body
Subtitle of host publicationGender, Health, and Networks of Power
EditorsLori Reed, Paula Saukko
PublisherState University of New York Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781438429533
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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