Abstract

Globalization has produced a common vision of the experience of childhood, a kind of global "morality." However, this "global notion" fails to coincide with the experience of childhood in Latin America. In Latin America family and kinship have served as critical institutions for social stability. Perhaps the starkest example of the impact of globalization on children in Latin America is the growing number of so-called street children. While the nuclear family is widely seen as ideal, it is not prevalent. Latin American families which are often extended and matrifocal often appear in the media or popular literature as being "deviant" or "in crisis." Neoliberal reforms restrict social programs that support education, welfare, housing, and medical care. Nevertheless, children still utilize kinship and family relations in creative and adaptive ways. Structures of dependence and reciprocity sustain children in the wake of economic crisis, marital strife, and parental death or disappearance. Parents also depend upon children. The majority of "street children" are working in the street to bring resources to their families. Globalization has limited the ability of popular families in Latin America to participate in the formal society and economy; what it has not done is to destroy the family.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 859-872
Launched on MUSE
2005-06-22
Open Access
No
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