Despite their presence in migration streams since the mid-nineteenth century, research on Mexican women's migration has a significantly shorter history than that which focuses on Mexican men. In this contemporary anthropological study, Tamar Diana Wilson couples an analytical migratory network analysis with an intimate ethnography and oral history to explore the characteristics, development, and dynamics of migration networks for Mexican women. Centering on the story of dona Consuelo, a woman Wilson met in a Mexicali squatter settlement in 1988, as well as on the stories of her two daughters in the United States, this study examines the vital role that women's networks play, both within Mexico and transnationally, not only in assisting other women to migrate, but in providing support for male family members as well. Following a summary of the history of Mexican migration and women's increasing participation in the migration stream to the United States, Wilson provides a brief history of women's labor in Mexico and changes in gender relations during the last few decades. She then introduces key concepts in migration theory, such as network mediation, social capital formation, and transnational migration, which are revisited throughout the book. Subsequent chapters are dedicated to the migration and adaptation experiences of dona Consuelo and her family members as expressed through conversations, interviews, and the author's observations.
Tamar Diana Wilson is a research affiliate with the department of anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is the author of Subsidizing Capitalism: Brickmakers on the U.S.-Mexico Border in addition to many journal articles.