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Gendered Negotiations: Engagements with ‘Modernity’ and Identity Change amongst Chiapeneco Youth in Mexico

Author(s): Jamie-Leigh Ruse

Journal: Studies of Transition States and Societies
ISSN 1736-874X

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 26;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: youth | gender | globalisation | modernity | Mexico.

In this paper I wish to examine how changes have occurred in the processes of gendered identity construction amongst Mexican youths through examining local experiences of global, and specifically Mexican, modernities. Based on fieldwork carried out amongst youths in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, my analysis addresses how youths plan for the future in the context of economic and political marginalisation, and how this affects the way in which they pursue different forms of romantic relationships. I also address changes that have occurred in youths’ understandings, perceptions and performances of their gendered identities in the context of a highly developed local tourist industry, the advent of mass media, and new online social worlds. My study shows how gendered identity construction amongst youths here becomes context-dependent, and how it encompasses individual agency whilst at the same time being negotiated through wider structural and social limitations. I also wish to demonstrate how changing gendered identities amongst youths are constantly constructed and renegotiated by individuals seeking to accommodate notions of modernity with perceptions of the traditional, and how these individuals balance contesting notions of gendered identities within themselves. This is, therefore, a study of local and gendered identity change amongst youths in the context of localised modernities and rapid social change.
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