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The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dreamby Mary Romero
Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary new work by the leading Marxian philosopher of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time represents a breakthrough in the development of socialist thought. It can be seen both as a companion volume to his earlier pathbreaking Beyond Capital and a major theoretical contribution in its own right. Its focus is on the "decapitation of historical time" in today's capitalism and the necessity of a new "socialist time accountancy" as a revolutionary response to the debilitating present.
Extending Mészáros's earlier analysis of capitalism as a social-metabolic system caught in an irreversible structural crisis, it represents a crushing refutation of the view that "there is no alternative" to the current social order. Mészáros's wide-ranging analysis explores the forces behind the expansion of world inequality, the return of imperial interventionism, the growing structural crisis of the capitalist state, and the widening planetary ecological crisis—along with the new hope offered by the reemergence of concrete socialist alternatives.
At the heart of his book is an examination of the preconditions of Latin America's historic Bolivarian journey, which is producing new revolutionary transformations in Venezuela, Bolivia and elsewhere. The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time is a work of great political as well as philosophical importance, one that defines the challenges and burdens facing all those who are committed to a more rational, more egalitarian future.
"Romero, professor of justice and social inquiry at Arizona State University, offers the culmination of two decades of research in her scholarly sociological portrait of class, race, and family as she follows Olivia Salazar, daughter of a maid, Carmen, employed by a wealthy family in Los Angeles. Romero examines Olivia's tenuous place in the family, both the employers' and Olivia's own. Olivia is 'the maid's daughter,' yet the employers have her eat at the table while Carmen serves the food, and sleep in an upstairs bedroom while Carmen inhabits the maid's quarters. Olivia's confrontations with issues of class, race, and identity saturate typical coming-of-age issues such as dating: her mother's employers want her to date white boys from the private school for which they sign tuition checks, while Olivia, seeking her place in the Mexican-American community, favors Chicanos. Romero interviews Olivia through childhood and college life and social activism through adulthood, shows how the girl who started out as 'maid's daughter' crossed perceived class boundaries; her story represents 'a microcosm of power relationships in the larger society.' Although Romero's choice to remain a presence in the text and to intersperse her voice with Olivia's, lends the book some choppiness, this detailed, intimate investigation of domestic work from the perspective of a domestic worker's child is a significant achievement that reads like a more academic Random Family. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
At a very young age, Olivia left her family and traditions in Mexico to live with her mother, Carmen, in one of Los Angeless most exclusive and nearly all-white gated communities. Based on over twenty years of research, noted scholar Mary Romero brings Olivias remarkable story to life. We watch as she struggles through adolescence, declares her independence and eventually goes off to college and becomes a successful professional. Much of her extraordinary story is told in Olivias voice and we hear of both her triumphs and her setbacks.
In The Maids Daughter, Mary Romero explores this complex story about belonging, identity, and resistance, illustrating Olivias challenge to establish her sense of identity, and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion in her life. Romero points to the hidden costs of paid domestic labor that are transferred to the families of private household workers and nannies, and shows how everyday routines are important in maintaining and assuring that various forms of privilege are passed on from one generation to another. Through Olivias story, Romero shows how mythologies of meritocracy, the land of opportunity, and the American dream remain firmly in place while simultaneously erasing injustices and the struggles of the working poor.
About the Author
Mary Romero is Professor of Justice Studies at Arizona University and a Carnegie Scholar with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Her books include Challenging Fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latino Lives in the U.S..
Table of Contents
1 Who Is Caring for the Maid's Children?
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Biography » Women