Staying Sober in Mexico City

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Staying sober is a daily struggle for many men living in Mexico City, one of the world's largest, grittiest urban centers. In this engaging study, Stanley Brandes focuses on a common therapeutic response to alcoholism, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), which boasts an enormous following throughout Mexico and much of Latin America. Over several years, Brandes observed and participated in an all-men's chapter of A.A. located in a working class district of Mexico City. Employing richly textured ethnography, he analyzes the group's social dynamics, therapeutic effectiveness, and ritual and spiritual life. Brandes demonstrates how recovering alcoholics in Mexico redefine gender roles in order to preserve masculine identity. He also explains how an organization rooted historically in evangelical Protestantism has been able to flourish in Roman Catholic Latin America.