Krista E. Van Vleet received her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1999.
The politics of morality and the quest to live a good life
Palomitáy is an orphanage in highland Peru that provides a home for unmarried mothers as young as twelve years old. In their ordinary lives, these young women encounter diverse social expectations and face moral dilemmas. They endeavor to create a "good life" for themselves and their children in a context complicated by competing demands, economic uncertainties, and structured relations of power.
Drawing on a year of qualitative on-site research, Krista E. Van Vleet offers a rich ethnography of Palomitáy's young women. She pays particular attention to the moral entanglements that emerge via people's efforts to provide care amid the inequalities and insecurities of today's Peru. State and nonstate participants involved in the women's intimate lives influence how the women see themselves as mothers, students, and citizens. Both deserving of care and responsible for caring for others, the young women must navigate practices interwoven with a range of a racial, gendered, and class hierarchies.
Groundbreaking and original, Hierarchies of Care highlights the moral engagement of young women seeking to understand themselves and their place in society in the presence of circumstances that are both precarious and full of hope.