Practicing Care in the Borderlands: Family, Fulfillment, and Everyday Experience among Older Migrant Caregivers in the Rio Grande Valley




Ramirez, Jessica Jazmin

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This thesis will analyze the everyday lives of older Mexican women who have migrated from Mexico to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) and who have experiences with family caregiving to better understand how their cultural ideologies of care, gender, and kin relations shape their care practices. This research responds to the call from anthropology and migration studies to integrate the perspectives and experiences of women who have migrated to correct the implicit assumption that men are always central figures (e.g., Brijnath 2009; de la Luz Ibarra 2002; Ibarra 2022; Raijman and Schammah-Gesser 2003; Yarris 2017b). I explore these older Mexican women's gendered migration experiences to gain insight into how they establish their own place-making within their homes in the RGV. Additionally, this research seeks to understand how these older Mexican women experience everyday caregiving within the home in light of their gendered social roles and obligations shaped within and by kin relations (Mohanty 1998). Within this discussion I was able to explore these older Mexican women's local cultural ideologies of gender, care, and kin relations and how they influence their care practices and everyday realities in the RGV. Through this, I also examine the sense of fulfillment and stressful obligation that accompany family caregiving among the older women in my project. Broadly, I argue that highlighting these cultural narratives from older Mexican women in the RGV contributes to a deeper understanding of the diverse and complex local cultural ideologies of gender, kinship, and care practices within the context of life histories of migration.



Care, Caregiving, Fulfillment, Gender, Kinship, Migration