‘<i>Un noviazgo después de ser casados</i>’<sup>*</sup>: Companionate Marriage, Sexual Intimacy, and the Modern Mexican Family

Jennifer S. Hirsch

in Categories and Contexts

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270576
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600883 | DOI:

Series: International Studies in Demography

‘Un noviazgo después de ser casados’*: Companionate Marriage, Sexual Intimacy, and the Modern Mexican Family

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  • History of Economic Thought


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Highlights the ways in which marital ideologies are socially constructed and historically variable and suggests how transformations in these marital ideologies and their social categories can contribute to an understanding of fertility decline. The ethnographic material presented here comes from a multi‐generational study of gender, sexuality, and reproductive health among women and men in a community of transnational migrants in western Mexico and Atlanta, Georgia. Older couples in this community spoke about marriage in terms of ‘respeto’: mutual respect, gendered work obligations, and bonds of marriage, which are reinforced through reproduction. Younger couples, in contrast, presented an ideal of ‘confianza’: companionate marriage marked by a significant amount of ‘helping’ with previously gendered tasks, increased heterosociality, and greater emphasis on trust, emotional warmth, and communication than on obligation and respect.

Keywords: companionate marriage; confianza; ethnography; fertility decline; gender; Mexico; respeto; sexuality; social categories; transnational migration

Chapter.  14713 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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