Anthropology Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Recent scholarship theorizes temporalities as an important part of the migration experience, with temporal insecurity being a crucial element of (im)mobility and inequality via the phenomenon of waiting. In this article, we examine how temporalities and experiences of waiting influence health status and access to care, using ethnographic data to articulate how temporalities impact resources and how a doxa of waiting is enacted, placing some groups at heightened risk of illness and pain compared to others. Drawing upon a sample of 100 immigrant families with mixed legal status living in United States-Mexico border communities, we focus on an understudied area in anthropology: oral health concerns. We illuminate the precarious social contexts of these families and illustrate how they navigate a variety of temporally available dental care options. By centering temporalities in our analysis, we show that the quest for care is characterized by waiting, a state that is naturalized for migrant populations who may be deemed less deserving of resources. Waiting produces forms of violence that are incremental and cumulative yet ultimately rendered invisible precisely because of its long duration. A focus on temporalities highlights the unique strengths, risks, and needs of communities, which are key to addressing health equity.


Copyright © 2023 Society for Applied Anthropology. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Human Organization


Included in

Anthropology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.