Gender Related Social Groups

Patrilocal residence is common (Fowler-Salamini & Vaughan, 1994; Robichaux, 1997). Nevertheless, the length of time a couple may live in the husband's father's household varies. If it is the youngest son, the couple will inherit the house. For all other sons, the length of stay depends on the economic background of the family (González Montes, 1994). For households with alternative income sources and no land, the period tends to be short (González Montes, 1994; Robichaux, 1997). The incoming wives often hope for rapid establishment of a separate household, given the fact that the time living with the husband's kin is often the most conflict-laden period in a woman's life (Pauli, 2000). In rural areas, the localized patrilineal groups (Robichaux, 1997) are often important support networks and pressure groups. Especially within the ejido system, the communal land administration, large male kin groups can be very influential.

However, more and more sons prefer neolocal residence after marriage. With the income generated through international migration, they are able to establish an independent household before marriage (Mummert, 1994; Pauli, 2000). There are few cases of matrilocal residence in rural areas (Robichaux, 1997). Living near or with the wife's mother's family seems to be more common in urban areas (Del Castillo, 1993). One explanation is the general lack of land to be inherited in this setting and thus a weaker bond between father and son (LeVine, 1993, p. 179; Lomnitz, 1977, p. 123).

Another important feature of social structure is the fictive kinship system, the compadrazgo system (White, Schnegg, Brudner, & Nutini, 2002). This system of godparenthood not only stresses the bond between godparents and godchild but also the bond between godparents and parents. On a structural level, groups are formed on the basis of couples. Yet, in everyday life, divisions along gender lines become important. Social interaction seldom occurs between couples but more between mother and comother (comadre) and father and cofather (compadre).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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