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Temas Poblac. 1991 Jun;1(2):15-25.

[Work and family in the sociodemographic study of Mexico].

[Article in Spanish]



This work reviews sociodemographic studies of the interrelationship between work and family in Mexico from 1950 to the present. 3 main themes are distinguished and examined in separate sections. The 1st are labor market studies focusing on aggregates of individuals, a trend most prominent through the mid 1970s but still somewhat in evidence. The 2nd type of studies stress the household or domestic unit as the relevant unit of analysis and often conceptualize economic participation as part of the family life strategy or survival strategy. This perspective reached its maximum development in the late 1970s and early 1980s but also still appears. The last type of study stresses the increasing heterogeneity of labor markets related to the increase in nonsalaried employment and increasing female employment. The domestic unit is present as a determinant of family-based economic activity and female employment, but differences and conflicts between generations within the household are stressed. This perspective began to gain importance in the mid-1980s. The objective of the differentiation into 3 periods and types of study is to analyze changes in theoretical elements considered, principal thematic contents, methodological tools utilized, and results. The work is based on a selective review of literature considered representative. On the theoretical level, relations between work and family are now perceived as more complex and incorporate more elements of social reality than they did in the earlier studies. Most studies of this type have concerned female employment. The belief that male employment depends less on the family context requires reassessment, especially in view of the differential employment opportunities of men and women. Quantitative sociodemographic research in Mexico has been greatly aided by the growing availability of detailed survey data. This, together with advances in statistics and computation, has allowed a greater use of multivariate analysis to clarify relationships between different variables taking into account the influence of important intervening factors. Multivariate analysis has allowed the effect of specific aspects of household structure to be identified. Increasing interest was shown in the 1980s in combining quantitative and qualitative information in Mexican sociodemographic research. This focus was apparent in studies of family formation, temporary migration, health and mortality, and abortion and contraception as well as in research on family and employment. These works attempt to complement data from censuses or surveys with a few in-depth case studies. Data from case studies and interviews has permitted the intentions of individuals to be analyzed and not just assumed. The articulation of individual and group interests in the household is more complex than a simple response to precarious socioeconomic conditions, and it may include elements of coercion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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