In this article I explore the meaning of work for girls in rural northeastern
Argentina as formative experience that forges their identity as peasants in
the contemporary world. Based on ethnographic research conducted from 2008
to the present in rural areas of San Ignacio (Misiones), I examine, from the perspective
of regulatory definitions regarding children’s work, the ways in which
young girls gradually participate in the social reproduction of families. Girls’ participation
in these activities should not be romanticized as part of a socialization
process, but, rather, critically considered as formative experience in which class,
age, gender, and ethnic distinctions define certain tasks as girls’ peasant skills.
Using data from participant observations made on three farms, I show how girls
have an active role in the appropriation of knowledge through shared activities
with boys, although such learning is overshadowed by the prevailing socio-historic
construct of male dominance.