This article describes a unique mixing of grounded theory methodology (GTM) and autoethnographic methods in a study of the difficulties faced by individuals (of the professional class) moving from the cosmopolitan urban areas of Mexico to a middle-sized, more traditional city, as I had done when I moved from Mexico City to Aguacalientes. The problem of suddenly finding myself to be a stranger in my own land began as a personal concern, but migrated into a professional sociological concern as I designed a GTM study that would allow me to examine the issue from a wider perspective.
This investigation revealed that smaller cities in Mexico, a rapidly developing nation, are experiencing a broad range of social pressures at many levels of society. These pressures result in sharp dichotomies that are experienced among insiders and outsiders. Thus, in Aguascalientes, insiders, on the one hand, present themselves to outsiders as hermetic, double-sided, mediocre, incompetent, and, on the other hand, they also present themselves as kind, open, good people, having a strong civic education. These strong contrasts in how insiders and outsiders view each other seem to be an expression of wider changes in which individuals find themselves in the modern Mexican context.