The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Pablo Vila


730 Gladfelter Hall

(215) 204-1239


  • PhD, University of Texas at Austin
  • BA, Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina

areas of expertise

  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Identity Construction

courses i teach

  • Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative methods
  • Race & Ethnicity
    Theories of Identity

links i like

Download my vita.


My central research topic is the social construction of identities. I try to understand both theoretically and empirically how people construct their identifications in order to understand who they are. My theoretical work tries to decipher the complex relationship between narrative identities and social discourses. My empirical work has two different geographical locales: Argentina and the U.S.-Mexico border. In the case of Argentina my work has dealt with the relationship between music and identity, and I have studied how different musical genres have helped different kinds of people to construct valued social identities: how tango helped European immigrants to acculturate in xenophobic early twentieth century Buenos Aires; how folk music did the same with immigrant mestizos from the countryside in the 1950s; how rock nacional was used by young people to resist a dictatorship that killed thousands of youngsters between 1976-1983; and currently how cumbia villera is used to negotiate gender relations among the more disfranchised inhabitants of Buenos Aires.


On the U.S.-Mexico border my research deals with how people construct their ethnic, racial, national, regional, gender, class and religious identifications in a complex environment where two different countries and cultures meet. I develop my teaching around these research interests, therefore I usually teach courses on identity theory, race and ethnicity, sociology of music, music in Latin America, and qualitative methods, with special emphasis on photo-elicitation, the main method I used in my research on the U.S.-Mexico border.



Recent Publications


Music and Youth Culture in Latin America: Identity Construction Processes from New York to Buenos Aires. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 2014.


The Militant Song Movement in Latin America: Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 2014.


Cumbia! Scenes of a Migrant Latin American Music. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Co-editor: Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste. 2013.


Youth Identities and Argentine Popular Music. Beyond Tango. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. 2012.


Troubling Gender: Youth and Cumbia in Argentina's Music Scene. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 2011. 


Border Identifications: Narratives of Religion, Gender, and Class on the U.S. Mexico Border. University of Texas Press. 2005.








department of sociology | 713 gladfelter hall | 1115 west polett walk
philadelphia, pa 19122 | (215) 204-7760 | fax: (215) 204-3352 |