I would like to thank Michael Schulman and the anonymous reviewers for their extensive and insightful comments. Their suggestions greatly improved this article. I would also like to thank Joanna Dreby, Steve Bruner, and Katie Gray for their helpful and supportive comments on earlier versions of this article. This research was supported by the American Sociological Association Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline and an MSU Scholarship and Creativity Grant.
“Doing Gender,” Ensuring Survival: Mexican Migration and Economic Crisis in the Rural Mountain West*
Article first published online: 29 SEP 2011
Copyright © 2011, by the Rural Sociological Society
Volume 76, Issue 4, pages 441–460, December 2011
How to Cite
Schmalzbauer, L. (2011), “Doing Gender,” Ensuring Survival: Mexican Migration and Economic Crisis in the Rural Mountain West. Rural Sociology, 76: 441–460. doi: 10.1111/j.1549-0831.2011.00058.x
- Issue published online: 5 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 29 SEP 2011
This article draws on ethnographic research to explore the impacts of the current economic crisis on Mexican migrant families in rural Montana. It looks specifically at the ways rural families negotiate gender roles and expectations as they devise survival strategies in response to major economic shifts. My analysis suggests that traditional gender roles are being transgressed, as migrant women enter wage labor, often for the first time. Simultaneously, gender ideologies are being reinforced, as migrant women struggle to protect men's sense of masculinity by continuing to perform a culturally appropriate gender script. Whereas the paradoxical combination of gender transgression and tradition has been noted within urban migrant families, its dynamics are different in rural contexts. While urban migrants tend to look outward to social networks for support, rural migrants turn inward to their immediate families, strengthening family solidarities.