Valentina Napolitano explores issues of migration, medicine, religion, and gender in this incisive analysis of everyday practices of urban living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Drawing on fieldwork over a ten-year period, Napolitano paints a rich and vibrant picture of daily life in a low-income neighborhood of Guadalajara. Migration, Mujercitas, and Medicine Men insightfully portrays the personal experiences of the neighborhood's residents while engaging with important questions about the nature of selfhood, subjectivity, and community identity as well as the tensions of modernity and its discontents in Mexican society.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Prisms of Belonging and Alternative Modernities
Chapter 1: Internationalizing Region, Expanding City, Neighborhoods
Chapter 2: Migration, Space, and Belonging
Chapter 3: Religious Discourses and Politics of Modernity
Chapter 4: Medical Pluralism: Medicina Popular and Medicina Alternativa
Chapter 5: Becoming a Mujercita: Rituals, Fiestas, and Religious Discourses
Chapter 6: Neither Married, Widowed, Single, or Divorced: Gender Negotiation, Compliance, and Resistance
Appendix A: Homeopathic Principles
Appendix B: Trees of Life and Death
Valentina Napolitano is a Research Officer at the Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge, and a Research Fellow at Clare Hall College, University of Cambridge.
“Valentina Napolitano’s fabulous book Migration, Mujercitas and Medicine Men offers acutely observed insights into the daily lives and social imaginations of urban Mexico beyond the established colonia issues of poverty, patron-clientelism and social networks.”—Gareth A. Jones Latin American Research Review
"Standing on the shoulders of previous ethnographers of everyday life in different Mexicos, Napolitano sees yet farther into the interstices and intricacies of the quotidian, its social forms, and how it is experienced and expressed. Just as a glass prism refracts white light into a spectrum of gradated colors, so is this book a dazzling refraction of a wide spectrum of feelings, identities, and social forms in a neighborhood situated between tradition and modernity, between rural and urban, and between poverty and affluence."—Michael Kearney, author of Reconceptualizing the Peasantry: Anthropology in Global Perspective
"The ethnographic result of Napolitano's work is splendid-it gives one the fascinating sensation of zooming back and forth between intimate real time conversations with the people of Polanco and a wide angle view of the city and the region through recent history."—Chris Kiefer, author of Health Work with the Poor
"Throughout this theoretically adept ethnography, Valentina Napolitano explores the embodied experiences of women and men to highlight their humanity. Covering topics as diverse as Christian Base Communities and alternative medicine, migration, and growing up female in Guadalajara, Migration, Mujercitas, and Medicine Men
provides insights and analysis sure to provoke discussion in medical anthropology and Latin American studies."—Matthew C. Gutmann, author of The Romance of Democracy: Compliant Defiance in Contemporary Mexico.
"By providing rich detail on an 'ordinary' rather than an 'exotic' community in suburban Guadalajara, Napolitano offers a telling analysis of the transformative impact of urbanization, internal and international migration, social movement mobilization, and Liberation Theology on the formation of women's identity at different life stages."—Judith Adler Hellman, author of Mexican Lives
"Richly textured, enlivened, and analytically elegant, Napolitano's ethnography of the cultural politics of belonging in Guadalajara weaves a nuanced portrait of vernacular modernities out of migrant routes rather than essentialist roots. Focusing on cultural practices that are at once ensouled and embodied, she fuses phenomenology and political economy to map the materiality of affect shaping daily lives. Napolitano offers resources of hope—both for an analytics of emergence enacted through critical ethnography and for the situated struggles of subalterns whose structures of feeling she so vividly renders."—Donald S. Moore, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley