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Maternal Politics and Religious Fervor: Exchanges between an Andean Market Woman and an Ethnographer



The life story of one Peruvian market woman, Felicitas Lucrecia Mamani de Cardona Ríos, offers a window into the social context and cultural values that have an impact on her individual struggles. At the same time, less explicit exchange dynamics akin to transference and countertransference between Lucre and the ethnographer dynamically structure the interview process. The ethnographer desired and sought to emulate some of Lucre's qualities—her protective, maternal, yet tough demeanor, whereas Lucre sought to project an image of herself as well-educated and of high social standing, yet also capable of great empathy and solidarity with working class women and Quechua peasants. The sharing of Lucre's life story with the ethnographer and the ethnographer's interpretation of it bring sharply into focus the complexity of lives and the negotiations that unfold at border crossings. [life story, transference, gender, market women, power]