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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Mari Castañeda

Second Advisor

Emily West

Third Advisor

Jonathan Rosa

Subject Categories

Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Media


This dissertation explores the advocacy work and political activism of Latin American social movement organizations based in the United Kingdom. I examine how activists working in Britain as it prepares to exit the European Union, make sense of their collective agendas, strategize to achieve their goals, and evaluate the outcomes of their advocacy efforts. In doing so, this project provides insights into the ways that identity movements are negotiated and performed during periods of increased political and public hostility toward their constituents and agendas. I illuminate the relationship between identity movements, immigration discourses, politics, and policy implementation and explore how major threats to activist groups and the communities they support influences collective action around rights and recognition. By analyzing public communication such as social media activity, advocacy campaigns, and public protests, along with in-depth interviews with activists at every level of multiple organizations working with members of the Latin American community in London, I describe how organizations were formed and are structured and discuss how activists construct, enact, and evaluate their agendas. I demonstrate how Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, concurrent with the broader trend towards Nationalism in much of Europe, has had particular effects on the advocacy work and activism of Latin Americans in the United Kingdom. I argue that in the context of a profound national policy shift a stratification of collective identity politics has occurred which produces distinct positionalities in relation to ethnocultural identity and activists’ engagements with issues of race, legal status, and belonging. These distinctions represent and important division of labor within and across organizations that play out in moments of both contention and cooperation and have implications for the future of Latin American social activism in the U.K.