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Chapter Five Perspectives on Gender Roles and Relations across Three Generations of Maya Women in Southern Mexico Adriana M. Manago In this chapter, I reflect on my work studying how Maya women’s understandings of gender are changing in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2007–2010, I interviewed first-generation professional Maya women who had migrated to the Mexican city of San Cristóbal de las Casas (Manago and Greenfield 2011), first-generation Maya college students who had migrated to San Cristóbal for school (Manago 2012), and first-generation high school girls, their mothers, and their grandmothers in the nearby Maya community of Zinacantán (Manago 2014). My goal in reviewing these studies is to bring attention to the psychological underpinnings of cultural change and continuity when there is an erosion of classic patriarchy, a form of patriarchy tied to patrilineal, patrilocal, rural subsistence agricultural ecologies as defined by Kandiyoti (1988) and Quinn (this volume). The ways in which women resolve value conflicts amid sociocultural change are a potentially fruitful area for discovery. In revisiting my interview data, I found that women accommodate existing familistic values to varying degrees in their self-schema as they adapt to urbanization, professional work, and formal education. In the process, new patriarchal bargains are forged. For example, the high school girls I interviewed expanded familistic values to incorporate new education roles outside the home into their self-schema. In order to gain the freedom to pursue these roles, daughters assumed responsibility for controlling their sexuality in the service of family honor, thus engaging in a new kind of patriarchal bargain with their parents. 91 Sociocultural Change and Gender in Chiapas The theoretical model I use to study intergenerational perspectives on gender roles and relations in Chiapas is Greenfield’s (2009) theory of social change and human development. According to Greenfield, when a community shifts from a small-scale, rural subsistence farming economy based on kinship networks to a large-scale, urban, and high-tech market economy with greater elaboration of personalized social networks and attenuation of kinship networks, pathways of development veer away from socialization that promotes family interdependence and toward socialization that encourages greater individual independence. Greenfield uses German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies’s ([1887] 1957) terms, gemeinschaft (community) and gesellschaft (society), to describe sociocultural change as a spectrum between these two anchors of contrasting sociological prototypes. The theory grew out of Greenfield’s (2004) longitudinal research demonstrating greater physical separation and independence in trialand -error learning in weaving apprenticeships as families in the Maya hamlet of Zinacantán became increasingly involved in commerce from the 1970s to the 1990s. Greenfield’s theory plus survey studies (Inglehart and Norris 2003) show associations between economic development, individualistic values, and gender egalitarianism in a variety of nations. This work laid the foundation for the main premise of my own research in Chiapas: when women migrate to urban centers and become involved in commerce and formal schooling, they are drawn to individualistic values prioritizing personal choice, individual rights, and equal opportunities for women and men. Although Greenfield’s theory is useful for understanding shifts that occur under particular sociodemographic conditions, it lacks a framework for exploring the continuity of values across generations, which also seems to occur even under conditions of sociocultural change, such as those happening in Chiapas. One way to study continuity in values is to examine women’s lives across generations, as I do in this chapter. Since the 1970s–1980s, the subsistence agricultural way of life in Chiapas has been in rapid decline largely because of Mexico’s neoliberal economic policies (Rus 2009). As a result, indigenous Maya families have moved into wage labor and commerce in Mexico’s market economy, and some are migrating to urban centers, such as San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, creating shantytowns at the peripheries. Men are traveling farther away from home to pursue commercial and wage-earning endeavors in Mexican cities and across the border. Women are spending more time outside the domestic sphere, participating in commerce 92Manago and transforming woven textiles, which traditionally clothed the family, into artisanal products to sell to tourists. With a cash economy has come television and movies, which transmit Western values. Political and educational institutions are also effecting change. The Mexican government has expanded the number of middle schools and high schools in rural areas, which bring mestizo teachers, language, curricula, and norms to indigenous communities. Mexican schooling prepares youth for participation in a market economy and implicitly...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780826360847
Related ISBN
9780826360830
MARC Record
OCLC
1124609064
Pages
296
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-21
Language
English
Open Access
No
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