Los intersticios: spaces of narrative identity among women of the Maquiladoras in Yucatan, Mexico
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AbstractWomen began working in the maquiladoras of Yucatan in 1985, offering to them an alternate form of wage labour. This thesis focuses upon the narratives of twenty-five women, from the communities of Chablekal and Xcanatun, Yucatan, who experience the maquiladoras as their first opportunity to work for wages in a formal workplace. The narratives not only shape and structure the study, but also provide for an interdisciplinary framework that understands identity within intersecting sets of social and economic contexts. These include a woman's labour, both in the home and outside of it; culture as a terrain of social consciousness and developing awareness; and learning, those experiences both informal and formal. Paul Ricoeur's philosophical ideas provide the primary structure of the study, offering a theoretical view of identity construction through personal narrative. Women's stories of lived experience constitute the narrative. The imaginative and story-like qualities of these narratives shape and refine our understanding of these twenty-five women as they interact with others, within a complex construction of social settings and relationships, from which their narrative identity emerges. The study incorporates other perspectives featuring the work of a number of respected researchers, in particular Calvin Schrag and Gloria Anzaldúa. Their work provides support to the interpretation of women's narratives as these explore the contexts of home and family life, education, employment, and community life as places of relationship. Raising questions about women's engagement with social life is important to understanding the nature of identity formation emerging from their perceptions of these lived experiences. Identity is not a unified essence but a moving site of paradox, and contradiction, continuous and disrupted. Narratives reveal the meaning of that human experience, within particular historical moments. The perceptual space (intersticio), from which narrative identity emerges, is the result of a woman's social interaction, and resulting perceptions of what that interaction means to her. The narrative is the trace of a woman's self, captured in her own words. Women's experiences captured through their narratives give way to the fragmentation of the self, as women locate themselves within shining fields of being. Women struggle with the choices they make as mothers, wives, employees, all subject positions that locate them in social life where their lives touch others. Raising questions that focus upon women's possibilities for agency, allows for a better understanding of how narrative identity situates both self-understanding and choice as these elements shape women's experiences of living in the world. Therefore, the study provides a way of seeing how women weigh and measure what is to be said and when, what is to be done and how, accepting that self-determination, who one is, is inseparable from speaking in one's own voice.
Bibliography : p. 244-270