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Description - Contingent Lives by Caroline H. Bledsoe

Most women in the West use contraceptives in order to avoid having children. But in rural Gambia and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, many women use contraceptives for the opposite reason - to have as many children as possible. Using ethnographic and demographic data from a three-year study in rural Gambia, Contingent Lives explains this seemingly counterintuitive fact by juxtaposing two very different understandings of the life course: one is a linear, Western model that equates aging and the ability to reproduce with the passage of time, the other a Gambian model that views aging as contingent on the cumulative physical, social, and spiritual hardships of personal history, especially obstetric trauma. Viewing each of these two models from the perspective of the other, Caroline Bledsoe produces fresh understandings of the classical anthropological subjects of reproduction, time, and aging as culturally shaped within women's conjugal lives. Her insights will be welcomed by scholars of anthropology and demography as well as by those working in public health, development studies, gerontology, and the history of medicine.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226058528
ISBN-10: 0226058522
Format: Paperback / softback
(228mm x 146mm x mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 10-Jun-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Caroline H. Bledsoe

Caroline H. Bledsoe, professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, is the author of Women and Marriage in Kpelle Society and is the coeditor of several books, most recently Fertility and the Male Life Cycle in the Era of Fertility Decline.

Books By Caroline H. Bledsoe

Contingent Lives by Caroline H. Bledsoe
Hardback, May 2002