The conclusion reflects on the main findings of this study and points to their significance beyond the specificity of both fistula and Ethiopia. It wrestles with charting a way forward and away from representations of cultural pathology. Popular portrayals of women with fistula replay well-worn tropes of a diseased Africa, steeped—as it continues to be perceived by many—in tradition and dysfunction. They have also added to impressions of distant others as irrationally bound by “culture.” What are the consequences of sustaining these kinds of representations? In part, these imaginaries continue to efface the structural dimensions that cause women to sustain fistula, as the injury comes to be seen as an instance of cultural pathology. The widespread emphasis on early marriage as a cause for fistula has meant that local and international organizations active in fistula prevention have poured money and resources into “cultural” programming, seeking to educate rural populations about the nefarious effects of their marital practices. These activities have come at the direct expense of maternal health access reforms. Yet, the conclusion also reiterates that—although indisputably distressing—women’s experiences with fistula do not estrange them from their worlds in the ways claimed by the existing publicity.
Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.