Accepted Paper:

"Caravans of women": rural areas, female immigration, bachelorhood and social inequalities.  


Yolanda Bodoque-Puerta (Rovira i Virgili University)

Paper short abstract:

I will present an ethnographic study on Spain’s “caravans of women”, meetings arranged in rural areas between men and women. We were interested about: 1) depopulation, rural masculinisation and bachelorhood; 2) female migration; 3) traditional courtship models; and, 4) social inequalities.

Paper long abstract:

I will present the data from an ethnographic study on Spain's "caravans of women". These unusual events have been taking place in recent years in territories with disparate geographies, varied historical, economic and social development, and also varied demographic compositions; however they all share two common aspects: 1) they are small, relatively remote villages, and 2) they have high rates of ageing populations and single men. The events consist of meetings arranged between the men and women, both of whom are actively seeking partners. We were interested in this type of dating because it also tells us, among other things, about: 1) depopulation, rural masculinisation and bachelorhood; 2) rural areas as contexts offering an opportunity to migrant women and the impact their presence generates; 3) the coexistence of more traditional courtship models; and, 4) finally, the existence and evidence of social inequalities that arise from the condition of the men and women in a space that is questioned and judged for displaying the active search for a partner. These elements are indicative not only of a crisis of production but also in a serious crisis of social reproduction (due to the difficulties of combining the transformations in their socioeconomic development with changes in cultural models) in which the "caravans" help make visible a reproduction of the system undertaken in a different way in accordance with the inequalities of access to material and social resources in certain historical and cultural contexts.

Panel Rur001
Ethnography of rural spaces: between utopia and neoliberalism