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Chapter 8

In Search of Respect: Ch. 8 Notes


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Maggie Cummings
Chapter
8

Page:
of 2
Chapter 8: Vulnerable Fathers ANTA02
Fathers not being around is not the biggest problem for children, it’s poverty
o Fathers in inner city are often abusive
Rural household with male parent working can’t be continued because there aren’t any jobs
o Don’t have protection of family or community
Idealized jibaro lifestyle rejects people with power in US society
Respect and dignity conflict with historical colonial dependency, migration, urbanization and
ghettoization
Street culture of entry level labor and underground economy force people into poverty and
violence
Celebrating Paternal Powerlessness
Men focus their energy on underground economy where they can have masculine dignity
through promiscuity, violence and substance abuse
They channel their failure to establish a nuclear family to other things
Primo made up for his inability to support his children, traditionally masculine responsibility, by
becoming a womanizer
Most men had idea for sex role that only men are allowed to be promiscuous
Eddie (Caesar’s) cousin believed having many women was a way of making them feel free, even
though they were poor and oppressed
Masculinity in Historical Crisis
Ray and people as old as him had more traditional Puerto Rican, Jibaro views of family
Traditionally, there’s no formal education cost, and food is grown, so it helps to have many
children who are also labourers
o Traditionally, benefit of having children here outweighs the cost
Respect centers around having a large family and supporting it
Ray and Luis were hypocrites when it came to supporting some of their children, used excuse of
unworthiness for not supporting them
Ray got respect from wealth and womanizing, even though he abandoned his children and
baby’s mothers
Older generation saw having many children as gaining respect, while younger generation got
respect from sexual conquests, not how many children they have
Relationship between identity and household composition has changed
In rural times, Large families would help to establish communities that control women and
children, oblige men to support their families
Men no longer command respect from families b/c of change in family forms and gender
hierarchies
There is a Puerto Rican taboo of being a disrespected father
Primo’s father would go into ataque de nervios (similar to Candy when she shot Felix), when he
heard about his Primo’s mom’s lovers
Primo’s father is an example of what happened as a failed immigrant, which lead to loss of
respect
o Lead to drug addiction
Chapter 8: Vulnerable Fathers ANTA02
The Material Basis for the Polarization of Intimate Violence
There’s a relationship between having a job and family stability
People had their ideal nuclear family when they were working
Patriarchy crisis is manifested in self-destruction and violence against women
Primo was subject to structural vulnerability, they changed his shift to a graveyard shift, which
made it difficult for him to be with his family and remain alert at work
Primo believed poor couples were set up for failure, even worse when there’s a child
Yearning for Fatherhood
Both Primo and Little Pete wanted to grow up with their children and support them, but they
couldn’t
o When both were working, they would stay away from drugs
All of them wanted to be there for their kids
They had nothing against their fathers, but wish they could have known them better, all were
abusive or didn’t pay for support
Accommodating Patriarchy
Most women moved onto next man, lead to serial household formation
o Yet women would not mind that the fathers of their children would not pay child
support
People believed that it was the responsibility of the man a woman was currently with to provide
for her previous children
o Candy had an advantage to submit to machismo, her new lovers would cover her
children
o Candy believed emotionally and culturally women are responsible for children
Candy celebrated patriarchal rights by believing she didn’t need to tell her kids their father was
a deadbeat, she believed her kids would just resent her for it
o Ironically, patriarchal logic says Candy is a bad mother because there is no man in the
house