Mexican Migrant And Seasonal Farmworker Culture, Gender, And Language Ideologies: Plática De HIV/AIDS




Allison, Donald

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Lack of health access and limited health care services are major concerns for those who provide healthcare for marginalized Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworker communities (MMSF). Health risks related to several deadly illnesses generate a significant challenge in providing services to this transnational population. In the United States, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major health burden for all ethnicities. New cases of HIV are diagnosed among U.S. Hispanics at a rate of 2.5 times greater than among non-Hispanic whites. Among MMSF populations, it is extremely difficult to track for multiple reasons.

The purpose of this study is to discover the perceptions, understandings, and experiences male MMSF living in the United States have surrounding HIV/AIDS. A qualitative, ethnographic approach, including participant-observation and interviews, is utilized to examine language and behavior as a means of understanding HIV/AIDS bound by the social constructs of gender and culture. Data collected from the MMSF community of Northern Colorado was examined using narrative analysis in order to answer the three research questions: First, how do male Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworkers talk about HIV/AIDS? Second, how do language and behavior surrounding HIV/AIDS reflect culture and gender ideologies of male Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworkers? Third, what do culture, gender, and language interactions reveal about help seeking behaviors for male Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworkers?

I examined language as it reflected gender, Discourse, and perceptions of male Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworkers surrounding HIV/AIDS, so as to understand the ways in which language, culture, and gender impact health-seeking behaviors. Language frames the ways in which gender informs shared beliefs and practices around HIV/AIDS. Through pláticas with eight participants, five major themes emerged within Discourse surrounding HIV/AIDS. These include: Chiste or jokes and vulgaridad or vulgarity, respeto or respect and confianza or trust, partner choice and warning others about potential partners, sexuality, and language.


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Discourse Analysis, HIV/AIDS beliefs and practices, Medical anthropology, Mexican studies, Migrant and Seasonal farmworkers, Narrative Analysis



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies