Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Week 5 : Family and Kinship

Guadalupe Contreras is a Mexican woman who was born in March 17, 1954 and she lives in the city of Guadalajara in Mexico. She is the second daughter of the Eleuterio and Amaila Contreras. She is a successful kindergarten teacher who has over many adversities on her life. When she was in college, she got pregnant and had to raise her child whiteout her boyfriend. A lot of people suggested her to quit from college, but with the support of her parents could have a full time job and study at same time. After some years she got married with her daughter’ father, but unfortunately, she has been taking most of the responsibilities of her household.   Guadalupe has a lot of problems and differences with her husband, but she never has thought to get divorce because she has never suffered physical abuse, and her religion (Catholicism) did not allow her to it .My aunt lives in Mexico, so we had a video call to do the interview. I tried to be very professional in the interview like a fox news reporter, but inside of me I felt discomfort for asking personal question to my aunt. I am close to her, but I never ask her something about her personal life.  I feel that the fact that she is my relative means that qualify to make an appropriate interview to her because I was scare to ask some questions, and it is obvious that I will talk good about her. If I interview someone else, I could do a more interesting interview because I would feel more confident to ask more personal, aggressive and meaning questions.

Guadalupe has a good relationship with all her siblings from her mother’s side and father’s side, but she do not spent a lot of time with them because they live in different cities and it is not easy to meet with them.  When her siblings visit her, she always tries to make feel good by take them out and make a good dinner for them. Even though Guadalupe do not spent a lot of time with her cousins, uncles and aunts, she is still very close to her brothers and sisters.  Most of her sisters and brothers live in the same area, and every Sunday most of her family go together to the church then they meet at her father house. Only a few of her nieces and nephews do not go to the mass, but they always go to the family reunion.  My grandfather is old and my grandmother died 7 years ago, so all the important decision are taking democratically, but only my aunts, uncle and father can vote. For example, when my grandfather wants to come to California for vacations, my family has a meeting to analyze the health of my grandfather and details of the flight. If one my cousin goes to the meeting, everyone will ask him/her to leave.  it is fine that my cousin do not have the right to vote in the important decision of the family because no one of them seem to be responsible and mature. There an ethnic difference in my family that sometimes creates problems and discussion in family reunions. The Guadalupe’s husband is from Mexico City and people from there have a very different point of view than people from Guadalajara city. So when my family talks about religion or politics, Guadalupe’s husband disagreed with everyone, make a drama and pretend to be a victim because nobody agrees with him.

I am very close to my relatives from my father’s side, but I only know a few people from my mother‘s side.  It is because my parents got divorce when I was 6 years old, and my mother is very undiplomatic and dramatic person. I really have a close relationship with father’s family to point that my aunts are like mothers for me and my uncle is my second father. I would say that my uncle Victor and aunts Antonia and Guadalupe are the most influential members in my family because they are responsible and the care for the wellness and union of the family. they are in charge of different aspect of the family. Antonia and Guadalupe take care of the reunions for holidays, family trips and my grandfather. On other hand, Victor supports the ideas of my aunts, and he is more focus to advice the younger generations.
In the family we try to have good relationship with everyone, so we always treat in the same way members who marry into the family, but they are not allow to vote in some decision. In conclusion, I have learned that my family has a special system to coexist and behave, and I just realize one of the main factor that I have big family is because of the power of decision of my aunts.

Question 1: With which family members did you tend to socialize with the most? Who did you spend holidays with?

Answer: with my sister Antonia and Maria

Question 2: If you needed help, place to live, money or child care, who among your family members would you feel comfortable turning to?

Answer: For a place to live and money I would ask help to my younger brother Victor. If something happened to me I would like that my niece (28 years old) take care of my daughter

Question 3: Are there family members your subject will not interact with or communicate with? Why?

Answer:  the family from my father’s and mother’s side live in another towns, so I only have contact with my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and father.

Question 4: Are there family members your subject knows little about?
Answer: I do not see my uncles, aunts and cousin very often, but we know each other very well. When I visit them or they visit me we have a great time

Question 5: Is the subject family located in a relatively central area or are they spread out geographically? Have family members migrated during his/her lifetime to another country? What were the reasons? How did this affect the family as a whole? Or if the family has tended to stay in the same place geographically, why have they chosen to do so?

Answer:  most of my brother and sister live really close. The distance among our house is around 1 mile. I only have a sister and her family who live in California, and she migrated because her husband decided. Also, my nephew Jose lives in California for personal reasons. We decided to live in the same area because this city offers good opportunities for work and education for our children. We miss our relatives who live out of the country, but we are have that they come to visit us at least once a year.


  1. Most people assume that it is harder to interview a stranger, but like you, I think it is much harder to interview a family member. We know where topics might be sensitive and are tempted to avoid them if possible. We wouldn't have the same advanced information on a stranger. I think interviewees sometimes feel more comfortable as well talking to a stranger about sensitive topics.

    I was interested in the in- and out-groups you had for family votes. Is the in group determined solely by age or by gender or relatedness?

    How do you think that the decision-making power of your aunts creates a large family? Do you mean they do a good job of keeping the family connected?

    Very interesting interview. Well done.

  2. I would said by relatedness because only my uncle, aunts and father can vote in the important decision. They said that they are the children of my grandparents, so they are a wiser generation.

    I think that my aunts make a pretty good job in family because sometimes my cousin have problems among each other, and they want to distance from the family. Also, they see each nephew and niece like a son and daughter.