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Med Anthropol. 2000 Jul;19(1):91-116.

From childbearers to culture-bearers: transition to postchildbearing among Tuareg women.

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University of Houston, Department of Anthropology, TX 77204-5882, USA.


This essay presents an analysis of women's lived experience of the transition from childbearing to postchildbearing among a division of the Tuareg in Niger, West Africa. The analysis suggests that biological realities associated with the end of fertility are interwined with local notions of qualities of ritual and social elderhood among women. It shows how changes in ritual and social roles, associated with increasing devotion to Islam and becoming a mother-in-law, are salient criteria for assuming the role and status of post-menopausal woman. The implication of this is very significant for biocultural reasons: menstruation and its cessation are not always literally the most important markers in female aging, in cross-cultural perspective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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