(Re)constructing Motherhood in Contemporary Mexico: Discourses, Ideologies and Everyday Practices
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2011-01-04
Polish Sociological Review 2010;172(4):487-502
In theMestizo and urban cultures of contemporary Mexico, motherhood is a site of confrontation of various gender (hegemonic, subordinate and alternative) images, practices and discourses. The local pattern of motherhood is undergoing social change, determined by traditional gender ideology, the government’s modernization policy, and the agency of ordinary men and women. This text is based on a field study which I conducted in a district of Mexico City in 2005/2006. I analyze the process of reconstruction of official motherhood ideology and mothering practices on three levels: the official cult of motherhood and state activity, local celebrations of Mother’s Day in the studied community, and women’s individual strategies. These strategies are expressed in the adaptation of the baby shower, an American custom, to local conditions. This adaptation has led to the development of a hybrid cultural form. It is also the site of women’s resistance to the state-supported, hegemonic cult of motherhood.
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