The Roots of Mexican Labor Migration

By Alexander Monto | Go to book overview

6
Household, Family and the Rites of Passage

The next three chapters and Chapter 3 on agriculture constitute a brief ethnography of Chaudan, the home of the migrants.


HOUSEHOLDS

Almost every domestic group in Chaudan forms a separate household by occupying a separate dwelling, following the definition of Wilk and Netting ( 1984). Such domestic residences constitute the majority of structures in the town and the outlying villages. Though, in most barrios, the housefronts form an unbroken wall facing the street, each house is distinguished by a different roofline, paint, or construction and has a separate street entrance. A solid common wall separates the houses. In newer barrios and toward the town's periphery, houses may also be detached and set in larger lots, often with side gardens. Each house is a rectangular, roofed structure with two or more rooms, behind which is a fenced or walled-off piece of ground. Part of the open area behind usually is cemented or tiled to form a patio, around which rooms may be built. Barns, pigpens, and outbuildings may be set at the back of the lot. These structural arrangements both ensure and express the separateness and privacy of each domestic group. Multiple family compounds (vecindades) are not built here.

Normally, each house contains one nuclear family (defined as a husband, wife and any unmarried children). Some households are quite large (see Table 6.1); 19.1% have nine or more people, but only 2.4% of households contain additional persons besides members of the nuclear family (see Table 6.2). Such additional persons are usually kin; only rarely are they unrelated individuals. This tendency toward nucleation is reinforced by patterns of food preparation

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