Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America

Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America

Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: Published: March 2000

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Latin American Studies, Sociology

This collection examines the mutually influential interactions of gender and the state in Latin America from the late colonial period to the end of the twentieth century. Locating watershed moments in the processes of gender construction by the organized power of the ruling classes and in the processes by which gender has conditioned state-making, Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America remedies the lack of such considerations in previous studies of state formation.
Along these lines, the book begins with two theoretical chapters by the editors, Elizabeth Dore and Maxine Molyneux. Dore opens by arguing against the prevailing view that the nineteenth century was marked by a gradual emancipation of women, while Molyneux considers how various Latin American state forms—liberal, corporatist, socialist, neoliberal—have more recently sought to incorporate women into their projects of social reform and modernization. These essays are followed by twelve case studies that examine how states have contributed to the normalization of male and female roles and relations. Covering an impressive breadth not only of historical time but also of geographical scope, this volume moves from Brazil to Costa Rica, from Mexico to Chile, traversing many countries in between. Contributors explore such topics as civic ritual in Bolivia, rape in war-torn Colombia, and the legal construction of patriarchy in Argentina. They examine the public regulation of domestic life, feminist lobby groups, class compromise, female slaves, and women in rural households—distinct, salient aspects of the state-gender relationship in specific countries at specific historical junctures.
By providing a richly descriptive and theoretically grounded account of the interaction between state and gender politics in Latin America, this volume contributes to an important conversation between feminists interested in the state and political scientists interested in gender. It will be valuable to such disciplines as history, sociology, international comparative studies, and Latin American studies.

Contributors. María Eugenia Chaves, Elizabeth Dore, Rebecca Earle, Jo Fisher, Laura Gotkowitz, Donna J. Guy, Fiona Macaulay, Maxine Molyneux, Eugenia Rodriguez, Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, Ann Varley, Mary Kay Vaughan


“[A]n ambitious and thought-provoking anthology on gender and the state in Latin America . . . . Hidden Histories is a must-read for scholars and suitable for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. It is well-documented and well-written and fully supports Joyce Gelb’s point that feminist advances depend on the national context.” — Jane Jaquette , Journal of Latin American Studies

“Dore and Molyneux have collected an important set of case studies which offer significant insight into the interactive nature of gender and state in Latin America. Hidden, indeed, are many of the subtle examples of patriarchy and patronage revealed in these studies. They offer not only fascinating reading, but also an opportunity to examine in detail how the daily lives of men and women in post-colonial Latin America have been affected by the mutual influence gender and state exercise upon one another.” — Nancy W. Shumaker , South Eastern Latin Americanist

“This excellent collection of essays. . . offers new and original material both historical and contemporary. . . . [A]n excellent volume offering insightful interpretations of the impact of gender on public life and its role in nation building. It may well help to chart new territory for research on state policy, political mobilization, and gender politics.” — Susan C. Bourque , American Historical Review

"The volume is ambitious in its scope and consistent in its high empirical and conceptual rigor, presenting many more worthwhile chapters than could be effectively reviewed here." — Elizabeth Quay Hutchison , Latin American Research Review

"This collection provides an excellent introduction for scholars and advanced students to an exciting new trend in Latin American historiography, bringing together two theoretically sophisticated literatures on the state and gender respectively. . . . [T]hese essays challenge future researchers to analyze more thoroughly the ways that gender is not only affected by but also contributes to the process of state formation."
— Sarah C. Chambers , Hispanic American Historical Review

"Two excellent editors’ introductions place the twelve essays, or ‘case studies,’ within the existing literature on the dynamic relationship between women, gender, and nation building in Latin America. . . . [P]ersuasive conclusions . . . . This is an important contribution to the presently dynamic fields of Latin American state formation, gender studies and women’s history."

British Bulletin of Publications

“This collection promises to be a thought-provoking and well-used source for the continuing debates in this field. A great asset for researchers and students alike.” — Sarah Radcliffe, University of Cambridge

“This splendid volume is unique for its analytical savvy regarding the gendered history of power, authority, and cooptation in Latin America. Each chapter provides a provocative and detailed rendering of patriarchal societies and women’s agency from spaces as varied as households and legislatures. This book will be of wide interest to specialists on the region and, far more broadly, it will spur reinvigorated theoretical debate on the tortuous relationship historically between gender and the state.” — Matthew C. Gutmann, author of The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Elizabeth Dore is Reader in Latin American History at the University of Southampton. She is the author of The Peruvian Mining Industry: Growth, Stagnation, and Crisis and editor of Gender Politics in Latin America: Debates in Theory and Practice.

Maxine Molyneux is Professor of Sociology, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London. She is the author of State Policies and the Position of Women in the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, 1967–77.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

I. State and Gender in Latin America

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Gender and the State in the Long Nineteenth Century / Elizabeth Dore 3

Twentieth-Century State Formations in Latin America / Maxine Molyneux 33

II. Case Studies

Civilizing Domestic Life in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, 1750–1850 / Eugenia Rodríguez S. 85

Slave Women's Strategies for Freedom and the Late Spanish Colonial State / María Eugenia Chaves 108

Rape and the Anxious Republic: Revolutionary Colombia, 1810–1830 / Rebecca Earle 127

Property, Households, and the Public Regulation of Domestic Life: Diriomo, Nicaragua, 1840–1900 / Elizabeth Dore 147

Parents Before the Tribunals: The Legal Construction of Patriarchy in Argentina / Donna J. Guy 172

Modernizing Patriarchy: State Policies, Rural Households, and Women in Mexico, 1930–1940 / Mary Kay Vaughan 194

Commemorating the Heroínas: Gender and Civic Ritual in Early-Twentieth-Century Bolivia / Laura Gotkowitz 215

Women and the Home in Mexican Family Law / Ann Varley 238

Domesticating Men: State Building and Class Compromise in Popular-Front Chile / Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt 262

State, Gender, and Institutional Change: The Federación de Mujeres Cubanas / Maxine Molyneux 291

Gender and the State in Argentina: The Case of the Sindicato de Amas de Casa / Jo Fisher 322

Getting Gender on the Policy Agenda: A Study of a Brazilian Feminist Lobby Group / Fiona Macaulay 346

Contributors 369

Index 371
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2469-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2434-8
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