This paper, based on eight years of observation and interviewing in southern Ecuador, examines how the processes of modernization affect the lives of poor adolescent girls growing up in the city. Focusing exclusively on the daughters of rural-tourban migrants, this paper discusses how both Hispanic gender models and a rigid class system ultimately serve to undermine the state-sponsored rhetoric promoting girls'full participation in the modernizing economy. The disjuncture between the imagined world of professional success and the real one of urban poverty is described. Using a theoretical framework that views culture and ideology as contestable domains, the author argues that consideration of the responses of adolescent girls is important for understanding future social transformations.
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