Academic journal article International Social Science Review

Book Review: Women Who Stay Behind: Pedagogies of Survival in Rural Transmigrant Mexico by Ruth Trinidad Galvan

Academic journal article International Social Science Review

Book Review: Women Who Stay Behind: Pedagogies of Survival in Rural Transmigrant Mexico by Ruth Trinidad Galvan

Article excerpt

Trinidad Galvan, Ruth. Women Who Stay Behind: Pedagogies of Survival in Rural Transmigrant Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2015. xvi + 184 pages. Hardcover, $50.00.

Women Who Stay Behind: Pedagogies of Survival in Rural Transmigrant Mexico is an ethnography written by Ruth Trinidad Galvan, associate professor at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies. The book addresses questions about how migration affects community and family dynamics while also exploring the women-centered pedagogies, social relations and cultural knowledge that sustain the survival of the women (primarily wives and mothers) "left behind" by men's migration to the United States.

The book emerges out of Trindad Galvan's ten year convivencia ("living together") with women in the rural communities in the city of Sierra Linda in the state of Guanajuato. Trinidad Galvan devotes much of the Methods section of the book, as well as the data chapters, to the invocation of the term convivencia. Ethnographers might question how Trinidad Galvan's operational definition of convivencia differs from any good ethnography which depends on the researcher's engagement in the day to day lives of participants through the sharing of time, space and life experiences. Nonetheless Trinidad Galvan's own commitment to learning about and sharing in the lives of the four women profiled in the book shines in each respective chapter devoted to the stories of the women's lives and survival strategies.

While each chapter focuses on the life and experiences of the woman each chapter is named after (including brief oversimplified descriptors, for example "Jovita: Caring and Humble Woman"), the common thread Trinidad Galvan follows in her analysis of each woman's story is about survival tactics, or as Trinidad Galvan calls them, pedagogies of survival. These pedagogies of survival include leading and attending to community and home responsibilities and needs, participating in community activism, and using their own cultural knowledge. …

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