Alejandra Díaz de León
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

UC MEXUS residency: September 2017 to May 2018
Alejandra Díaz de León

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Essex. My research focuses on Central American transit migrants through Mexico and asks if social networks are important factors in pulling Central Americans to the United States and in helping them survive while they are in transit across Mexico. I also research the role of trust, bonding, and cooperation during the traumatic event that this transit represents. I enquire if cooperation and trust can arise and be maintained among migrants when they move in an environment of vulnerability and uncertainty. I have conducted participant observation in the southern and northern border of Mexico, in the Sonoran Desert, and in Tucson. This allowed me to ‘follow’ the transit migrant route and interview and observe migrants at different stages of their journey.

During my time at UC MEXUS, I intend to finish my Ph.D. and to work on turning it into a book manuscript. I will finish two articles about the border control policies of Mexico and the United States and I will submit them for publication. I will conduct more interviews with Central American migrants who have already arrived in the United States to find out if the bonds they form in transit last during settlement.

Please contact Alejandra Díaz de León at