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Migration, Mujercitas, & Medicine Men: Living Urban Mexico


Migration, Mujercitas, & Medicine Men: Living Urban Mexico Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"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


Includes bibliographical references (p. 217-235) and index.


This intriguing ethnography explores migration and gender in Mexico's second-largest city. It will become a classic in urban Latin American studies and will engender important discussion for further research.

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations


Introduction: Prisms of Belonging and Alternative Modernities

Chapter 1: Internationalizing Region, Expanding City, Neighborhoods

in Transition

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




Product Details

Napolitano, Valentina
University of California Press
Napolitano, Valentina
Indians of mexico
Rural-urban migration
Latin America - Mexico
Indians of Mexico -- Urban residence.
Guadalajara (Mexico) Social conditions.
Anthropology - General
World History-Mexico
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
6 b/w photographs, 2 maps
9 x 6 x 0.63 in 13 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Latin America » Mexico
History and Social Science » World History » Mexico
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

Migration, Mujercitas, & Medicine Men: Living Urban Mexico Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages University of California Press - English 9780520233195 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 217-235) and index.
"Synopsis" by , This intriguing ethnography explores migration and gender in Mexico's second-largest city. It will become a classic in urban Latin American studies and will engender important discussion for further research.
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