Document Detail

The process of paradoxical autonomy and survival in the heroin careers of Mexican American women.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21057594     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
This study focuses on the process of paradoxical autonomy and survival in the heroin careers of Mexican American women. We explore how gender roles among Mexican American female heroin users influence the emergence of a paradoxical autonomy. Five key subprocesses of this autonomy were identified from 14 life history narratives: sustaining employment, working the welfare system, illegal activities, emotional aloofness, and loss of family and children. Dependency on drugs did not lead simply to the reproduction of traditional gender dependency but, paradoxically, seemed to contribute to a new type of gender autonomy. This autonomy did not necessarily make the survival less arduous, only more independent from gendered responsibilities associated with men and often with family and children. We discuss how this paradoxical autonomy is not acquired without ambiguity by some of these women, who place a value on maintaining relationships with men and family. Our study makes a contribution to a better understanding of the diverse processes by which Mexican American female heroin users struggle to survive. Although this struggle leads to a paradoxical autonomy from their traditional gender roles, it does little to change other barriers to self-development originating from poverty, ethnic discrimination, and the severity of their drug addiction.
Avelardo Valdez; Charles D Kaplan; Alice Cepeda
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Publication Detail:
Journal Detail:
Title:  Contemporary drug problems     Volume:  27     ISSN:  0091-4509     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2000  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-11-8     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0323553     Medline TA:  Contemp Drug Probl     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  189     Citation Subset:  -    
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Grant Support
R24 DA007234-08//NIDA NIH HHS

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