By Janise Hurtig (auth.)
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Extra info for Coming of Age in Times of Crisis: Youth, Schooling, and Patriarchy in a Venezuelan Town
Some found themselves drifting along the current of negligent patriarchy, surprised to find themselves becoming fathers before they had a chance to become modern workers. Thus, for the relatively few young men who continued to study at Liceo Parra into their fourth and fifth years, the effort to create a life plan buffeted them between the challenges an educational meritocracy posed to classic patriarchy by proposing that all youth, regardless of sex or circumstance, might and should pursue schooling, careers, and a place Coming of Age ● 19 in civic life, and the challenges the crisis posed to that proposal of universal opportunity and upward mobility.
Patriarchal family relations presumed and promised a father’s or husband’s familial protection and his public authority in exchange for a daughter’s or wife’s faithfulness and cooperation—apparent terms of reciprocity that mystified unequal relations subordinating and exploiting women sexually and productively. But Veronica, already versed in the terms of negligent patriarchy, knew better than to believe this classic “patriarchal bargain” (Kandiyoti 1991; see also Mies 1986; Ortner 1978). Instead, she turned to the presumptions and promises of formal education to protect herself against the patriarchal negligence she had learned to expect.
I certainly share—and continue to be inspired by—Jules Henry’s trenchant and troubled critique of the cultural practices through which schooling manufactures the consent of youth to participate in the alienating practices of modern capitalist society by curbing creativity. However, I also believe that it is the job of any feminist interpretation to find the enduring seeds of creativity that are able to sprout inside the societal soil, no matter how dry that soil may appear to the ethnographic observer.