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Against Machismo

Against Machismo: Young Adult Voices in Mexico City

Josué Ramirez
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 156
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  • Book Info
    Against Machismo
    Book Description:

    Based on fieldwork conducted among middle-class university students primarily at the national university (UNAM) in Mexico City, this study explores gender relations as reflected in the words macho and machismo. The author concludes that the students use them to denote aspects of their families of origin that they consider unfavorable and aspects of the cultural past that they wish to leave behind in their own lives. In capturing the lively and revealing conversations of these young voices, the author offers a compelling analysis of how gender concepts and identities are changing in contemporary Mexico City.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-885-0
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. viii-xvi)
  6. INTRODUCTION Mexican Middle-Class Young Adults
    (pp. 1-24)

    In this work I offer a portrait of a sector of contemporary Mexico—middle-class young adults. It is a portrait based mainly on open-ended interviews conducted at the national university (UNAM) in Mexico City. As I explain in the pages that follow, my sample of Mexicans was in a most general sense againstmachismo.The pattern held in the great majority of cases through the length of my fieldwork.

    Before going to Mexico City I had conducted another interview project onmachismo,with Latino university students in the United States, that spanned the 1990s. My earliest interviews with US Latinos...

  7. CHAPTER 1 Talking Change
    (pp. 25-44)

    The new facilities under construction at the school of psychology were dramatic and futuristic, like much of the original architecture on the UNAM campus. The school of psychology was noted for a progressive style and an activist orientation. Both students and professors expressed a strong sense of social consciousness (conciencia social). Psychology was the first college of UNAM where I conducted interviews. In the mornings I saw students singing folk songs with guitars on the school’s esplanade. I saw the youthful exuberance of a social group with talent and opportunities. The atmosphere was tranquil and at times festive. In psychology...

  8. CHAPTER 2 The Chifladas of Engineering
    (pp. 45-63)

    Marisol, a student in psychology, told me she knew a number of students in engineering. “They have stereotypical ideas,” she said, “To them the more women they have the better. But, I know it’s risky to speak in generalizations.” This was typical of the reputation of engineering students, who were routinely offered up as examples of a retrograde type of man. Manuel, also of psychology, said there was one man among his friends who tended to be moremachistathan the rest. I was intrigued and asked him why. “Because his father is that way,” he replied, “and, he’s an...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Life Charts and Gender Suffering
    (pp. 64-89)

    Unlike other parts of UNAM, the cafeteria at the school of sciences had a warm, homey feel, with tablecloths on the tables and hanging plants in the windows. The food servers were kind and generous. Students played board games and dominoes in the afternoon. They were beyond having to prove their work ethic. They already had a reputation for academic excellence, as well as for eclecticism and social tolerance. Months earlier, Sandra, a friend and student activist from ENAH (the nearby national college of anthropology and history) who was once enrolled at the school of sciences, told me that it...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Conflict Narratives
    (pp. 90-110)

    From the start of my project at the national university in Mexico City, and particularly during my work at the school of psychology, I noticed that the sharpest definitions ofmachoappeared in conflict narratives, and often in cases of divorce. This was, of course, no surprise. Conflict narratives were coming-of-age stories in which Mexican mothers and fathers fought with each other or with their children. If anyone left the family it was generally the father, who then was more likely to become a distant or abstracted character in the story and to exemplifymachismoin the end. I should...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 111-123)

    As an ethnography this work was first of all descriptive. It was a rendering of conversations and interactions with university students in the Mexican capital. I focused on personal reflection. I wanted to hear young people discussmachismoin the context of life histories. I wanted to see how themachotrope functioned in narratives about parents and siblings and growing up Mexican. As I expected, in this conversational space the wordmachoplayed a key role. It defined qualities and attitudes that the students I interviewed considered unfavorable. The word was associated with aspects of their families of origin...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 124-126)
  13. Index
    (pp. 127-138)