Reinventing Practice in a Disenchanted World: Bourdieu and Urban Poverty in Oaxaca, Mexico

By Cheleen Ann-Catherine Mahar | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 3
CONSUELO'S STORY

CONSUELO LIVES SEPARATELY from her mother on a piece of land that is situated on a rise up from the main road. A piece of the wooden picket fence in front of her house is broken, and she does not have the money to fix it, nor does she want to right now. The house and the land are not in her name, nor in the names of her children. There are three houses on this lot, which is full of medium-sized deciduous trees. It could be a really beautiful setting if the yard was not filled with construction bricks, wash tubs, an assortment of tools, and the like. One of the houses belongs to Consuelo's brother-in-law, a second is rented out to a family whose daughter is her son's novia (girlfriend), and the third, where she and her sons live, belongs to her late husband's grandmother. Consuelo's boyfriend, Adan, has paid 1,000 pesos to have her telephone reconnected. She has been seeing him for two years, but does not want to marry him as she likes being treated like a novia. Her house has no light except from a bulb on a wire taken from her brother-in-law's house. She owes more than 2,000 pesos to the electricity board. Apparently the account was in her husband's name and was never changed. The board will now charge her for the past two years to cover the time period that the board neglected to send a bill.

We sit in her living/dining room and look at photograph albums, and then she shows me the two bedrooms and the kitchen. One of the bedrooms is full of her son's electronic disco equipment. She has rather modern living room furniture, and not the usual rough wooden furniture purchased from the local market. This room has two large chairs, one housing a mother cat and her kittens, a couch made of red velvet material that is old and soiled, a large glass cabinet with lots of china knick-knacks, and a TV that does not work on top of the cabinet. One of

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