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Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography



Publication Date



In this paper, we examine the mobilization of the Patronas, a group of Mexican women who have fed thousands of Central American migrants over the past two decades. We argue that the Patronas’ work of feeding and caring for migrants goes beyond essentializing these women’s work as just housewives, mothers, and caregivers. Furthermore, we assert that through these care activities, the Patronas exert a feminist ethic of care that is understood as a set of practices based on trust, reciprocity, and solidarity. The Patronas’ praxis of caring for the migrants resonates with people and attracts hundreds of volunteers to join these women’s emotional and nurturing work leading these women and volunteers to participate in a political practice of solidarity. In this paper, we articulate three key findings: (1) the interplay between the Patronas’ emotional work and the ethics of care, (2) the emergence of a collective act of solidarity around the Patronas’ caring work that leads hundreds of volunteers to visit these women and join them, and (3) the kitchen as a place where the collective act of solidarity begins and where the Patronas experience their personal transformation. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this study contributes to further our understanding of the interplay between Latin American women’s participation in social movements, emotional work in these movements, and the ethics of care.


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