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Title:Gender at the Margins: Contradictions of Masculinity and Femininity in a Bolivian Barrio Marginal
Author(s):Litherland, Kathryn J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Whitten, Norman E., Jr.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:This dissertation examines the gender roles and expectations of men and women in two working-class neighborhoods of Cochabamba, Bolivia. I find that understandings of masculinity and femininity consist of multiple, often contradictory, models. The fundamental contradiction of masculinity lies in the competing models of "the macho" (who in this ethnographic context is defined more in terms of male homosocial activities, especially drinking, while the role of "hypersexuality" in defining the "macho" is underplayed) and "the family man" (padre de familia), whose defining feature is moral and economic responsibility within the family and community. These two models correspond to different phases of the life cycle (bachelorhood versus mature parenthood), but the transition between these phases is problematic and the source of much personal, familial, and community tension. Women in these neighborhoods see motherhood as a central facet of femininity, but are also active in "production" and local politics. One central contradiction for women is between their role as "reformers" of macho husbands, and expectations that they act as "peacemakers" within the family. A second contradiction for women relates to class mobility, wherein the role of nonworking "housewife" may signal increased status for the household at the expense of a woman's economic leverage. I also discuss the ways in which gender roles and expectations are shaped and enacted in different social contexts, and explore various paths taken by men and women as alternatives to normative gender expectations, including an in-depth look at patterns of male homosexuality.
Issue Date:2001
Description:287 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3017149
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2001

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