Intimacies of Power in the Circulation of Care: Making Gender Across Generations. Transnational Andean Families in Quito and Madrid

  • Grégory Dallemagne
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


Can the circulation of care influence how women exert agency in the transformation of gender norms across generations? Based on ethnographic fieldwork and life-story interviews, this chapter sheds light on intimate power relationships within an extended family originally from a village north of Quito, with members living in Madrid. The study focuses on the effect of intergenerational and sibling dynamics on the organization of social relations within transnational families, specifically on intergenerational cooperation, power relations and their influence on managing care and the intimate at a distance.

The analysis centres on the use of ethnic boundaries in power relationships and how ethnicity is instrumentalized to negotiate gender norms, influencing the circulation of care in transnational families.



I would like to thank the people of Jatun Pamba, without whom my research would not have been possible, for sharing their experiences with me and accepting me as a (somehow peculiar) member of their families. I also want to thank the people who have read previous versions of this chapter, Maya Paltineau, Sarah Smit, Rupert Small, Maggie Schmitt, and the editors of this book for their numerous comments.


  1. Anthias, F. 2000. Metaphors of Home: Gendering New Migrations to Southern Europe. In Gender and Migration in Southern Europe: Women on the Move, ed. F. Anthias and G. Lazaridis. New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 2001. The Material and the Symbolic in Theorizing Social Stratification: Issues of Gender, Ethnicity and Class. The British Journal of Sociology 52: 367–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baldassar, L., and L. Merla, eds. 2014. Transnational Families, Migration and the Circulation of Care: Understanding Mobility and Absence in Family Life. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Barth, F. 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Organization of Cultural Difference. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.Google Scholar
  5. De La Cadena, M. 1991. ‘Las mujeres son más indias’: Etnicidad y género en una comunidad del Cuzco. Revista Andina 9: 7–47.Google Scholar
  6. Echevarría Vecino, L. 2012. Gender and Conflict Within Migrant Families: A Case Study of Mothers and Daughters of Moroccan Origin in Madrid. Refugee Survey Quarterly 31: 137–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Espiritu, Y.L. 2001. ‘We Don’t Sleep Around Like White Girls Do’: Family, Culture, and Gender in Filipina American Lives. Signs 26 (2): 415–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foucault, M. 1976. Histoire de la sexualité, Tome 1: La volonté de savoir. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  9. García, F.S. 2014. Los cabos atados y sueltos en los estudios agrarios y étnicos en ecuador. Revista de Antropología Social 23: 73–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gregorio Gil, C., and H. Gonzálvez. 2012. Las articulaciones entre género y parentesco en el contexto migratorio: más allá de la maternidad transnacional. Ankulegi 16: 43–57.Google Scholar
  11. Herrera, G., M.C. Carrillo, and A. Torres. 2005. La migración ecuatoriana: transnacionalismo, redes e identidades. Quito: FLACSO. Sede Ecuador.Google Scholar
  12. INE, Instituto Nacional de Estadística (España). 2016. Censo de Población y Viviendas del 2011 & Primeras estimaciones del padrón para 1 de enero de 2016.Google Scholar
  13. Mahler, S.J., and P.R. Pessar. 2006. Gender Matters: Ethnographers Bring Gender from the Periphery Toward the Core of Migration Studies. International Migration Review 40: 27–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ortner, S.B. 2001. Specifying Agency. The Comaroffs and Their Critics. Interventions 3: 76–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Oso Casas, L. 2000. L’immigration en Espagne des femmes chefs de famille, 89–140. Les cahiers du CEDREF.Google Scholar
  16. Parella Rubio, S. 2012. Familia transnacional y redefinición de los roles de género: El caso de la migración boliviana en España. Papers: Revista de Sociologia 97: 661–684.Google Scholar
  17. Pedone, C. 2008. ‘Varones aventureros’ vs.’madres que abandonan’: reconstrucción de las relaciones familiares a partir de la migración ecuatoriana. REMHU. Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana 16 (30): 45–64.Google Scholar
  18. Suárez Navaz, L., S. Castañón Romero, and E. Anadón Moreno. 2006. La mujer indígena ante la migración: estudio de caso de una comunidad andina. Anales del Museo Nacional de Antropología 25–40.Google Scholar
  19. Van Vleet, K.E. 2008. Performing Kinship: Narrative, Gender, and the Intimacies of Power in the Andes. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  20. Zontini, E. 2010. Enabling and Constraining Aspects of Social Capital in Migrant Families: Ethnicity, Gender and Generation. Ethnic and Racial Studies 33: 816–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grégory Dallemagne
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations