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Contingent Lives
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Contingent Lives: Fertility, Time, and Aging in West Africa

Caroline H. Bledsoe

Abstract

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, this book 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 t ... More

Keywords: Gambia, contraceptives, aging, reproduction, hardships, obstetric trauma, time

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780226058511
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226058504.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Caroline H. Bledsoe, author