The Resources of Poverty: Women and Survival in a Mexican City
In 1982, Mercedes Gonzalez de la Rocha arrived in the booming Mexican city of Guadalajara, famed both for its beauty and its ability to cope with the problems of rapid urban development. She was struck not only by the evidence of fast economic growth, but by the troubling persistence of poverty across large areas of this otherwise booming city.
The author began a sustained research project among working-class families there, examining the strategies by which the poor in Guadalajara - and many other cities of the developing world - survive in the face of disadvantage and scarcity. The Resources of Poverty is the result.
Bringing women and children to the centre of her analysis, the author explores the effects of an uneven labor market on the structure and organization of households - revealing a highly homogenous working class, united in its survival instinct and in its dependence upon the women of the family in the defense of its standards of living.
Resources of Poverty is a richly rewarding account of working-class life in the developing world today. It raises unsettling questions about the ability of the poor in Mexico to continue to survive in an increasingly desperate economic climate. The resources they have developed are considerable, but so too are the larger forces weighed against them.
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