"How to Make It Here": A Qualitative Study on Generational Narratives of Survival and Success Among Latinx and White Evangelical Communities Along the US/Mexico Border

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Miguel A. De La Torre, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Katherine Turpine

Third Advisor

Debora Ortega


Christian social ethics, Church of Christ, Evangelical church, Youth faith development


This dissertation maintains that a primary method of accumulating and transmitting cultural capital across generations is survival narratives. In this study, a "survival narrative" is best understood as counsel passed down from older to younger generations designed to help the younger generation understand, survive and succeed in contemporary U.S. culture. The study is a qualitative project in liberative social ethics rooted in constructivist qualitative inquiry and is specifically a phenomenological project. Results of the study revealed four different types of survival narratives in six different categories specific to this study. The research questions explore issues of ethnicity in evangelical borderland communities and contrast Latinx survival narratives with white survival narratives in religious and educative contexts. Findings also revealed gendered narratives, class-based narratives, and the glaring absence of helpful narratives around sexuality, filtered through the lenses of religion and education. The study concludes that true survival narratives were not the messages delivered to the participants but were instead the narratives participants constructed in response to the evangelical church.

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

Rights Holder

Cari Myers


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

318 p.


Religion, Social research, Religious education

This document is currently not available here.