Old Colony and General Conference Mennonites in Chihuahua, Mexico: History, representations and women's everyday lives in health and illness

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/279881
Title:
Old Colony and General Conference Mennonites in Chihuahua, Mexico: History, representations and women's everyday lives in health and illness
Author:
Reinschmidt, Kerstin Muller
Issue Date:
2001
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
During the early 1920s, Old Colony Mennonites emigrated from Canada to Chihuahua, Mexico in order to continue their traditional ways of life in nearly isolated, agricultural communities. As their ancestors had done for centuries, they continued to live in opposition to "the world." While the Old Colony Mennonites basically succeeded in living their distinct, conservative ideology, economic necessities and real world opportunities caused internal disagreements, excommunications and the formation of a new, liberal church, the General Conference, among their midst. North American Mennonite and some European scholars have recorded the history, political economy, socio-religious organization, linguistic and cultural characteristics of these so-called "Mexican Mennonites." What their large-scale perspectives have failed to capture is the everyday lives of the cultural group, the lives of women in particular. Women's worlds have been invisible in the official discourse on Mennonite history, most of which is male-dominated. This dissertation explores the everyday lives of Mennonites in the colonies near Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua through Mennonite women's eyes. Women's multiple roles at the household level in times of health and illness, and women's moral identities are its focus. Women's habitus and discourses are central in perpetuating Mennonite gendered and moral identities. These identities, expressed in everyday moral living, are the foundation to Mennonite women's health work and local meanings of health. The ethnographic descriptions of women's lives demonstrate how ideology becomes operationalized, and the contrasting of existing literature with my findings exemplifies the articulation of ideology and gender. As an understanding of local Mennonite women's lives requires an appreciation of Mennonite history, socio-economic structure, and the values and norms reproduced by women during their everyday lives, this dissertation has a comprehensive, four-fold structure: Part I summarizes the history of the Mennonites near Cuauhtemoc and analyzes its representational politics; Part II lays out the anthropological processes of fieldwork and writing; Part III describes the contemporary everyday lives of Mennonite women with a focus on their gendered work, including health work, and socializing practice; Part IV discusses the socialization processes of Mennonite women, inherent challenges in Mennonite social structure, and the ways in which Mennonites cope with these challenges.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Anthropology, Cultural.; Women's Studies.; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Anthropology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Nichter, Mark

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleOld Colony and General Conference Mennonites in Chihuahua, Mexico: History, representations and women's everyday lives in health and illnessen_US
dc.creatorReinschmidt, Kerstin Mulleren_US
dc.contributor.authorReinschmidt, Kerstin Mulleren_US
dc.date.issued2001en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractDuring the early 1920s, Old Colony Mennonites emigrated from Canada to Chihuahua, Mexico in order to continue their traditional ways of life in nearly isolated, agricultural communities. As their ancestors had done for centuries, they continued to live in opposition to "the world." While the Old Colony Mennonites basically succeeded in living their distinct, conservative ideology, economic necessities and real world opportunities caused internal disagreements, excommunications and the formation of a new, liberal church, the General Conference, among their midst. North American Mennonite and some European scholars have recorded the history, political economy, socio-religious organization, linguistic and cultural characteristics of these so-called "Mexican Mennonites." What their large-scale perspectives have failed to capture is the everyday lives of the cultural group, the lives of women in particular. Women's worlds have been invisible in the official discourse on Mennonite history, most of which is male-dominated. This dissertation explores the everyday lives of Mennonites in the colonies near Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua through Mennonite women's eyes. Women's multiple roles at the household level in times of health and illness, and women's moral identities are its focus. Women's habitus and discourses are central in perpetuating Mennonite gendered and moral identities. These identities, expressed in everyday moral living, are the foundation to Mennonite women's health work and local meanings of health. The ethnographic descriptions of women's lives demonstrate how ideology becomes operationalized, and the contrasting of existing literature with my findings exemplifies the articulation of ideology and gender. As an understanding of local Mennonite women's lives requires an appreciation of Mennonite history, socio-economic structure, and the values and norms reproduced by women during their everyday lives, this dissertation has a comprehensive, four-fold structure: Part I summarizes the history of the Mennonites near Cuauhtemoc and analyzes its representational politics; Part II lays out the anthropological processes of fieldwork and writing; Part III describes the contemporary everyday lives of Mennonite women with a focus on their gendered work, including health work, and socializing practice; Part IV discusses the socialization processes of Mennonite women, inherent challenges in Mennonite social structure, and the ways in which Mennonites cope with these challenges.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectAnthropology, Cultural.en_US
dc.subjectWomen's Studies.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Individual and Family Studies.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorNichter, Marken_US
dc.identifier.proquest3031394en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b42286785en_US
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