Understanding life through unwanted childlessness: Ethnography and fiction from Ghana, Bangladesh and 'dystopia' (Respond to this article at http://www.therai.org.uk/at/debate)

Sjaak van der Geest, Papreen Nahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic work in Ghana and Bangladesh, and on a British dystopian novel, we sketch the social, emotional, and existential consequences of childlessness for women who desperately want a child, as is still common in the two countries where the authors carried out research. For these women, childlessness leads to loneliness and a sense of uselessness. Underlying these emotions is the notion that children constitute and personify continuity; childlessness thus stands for the discontinuation of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-7
Number of pages5
JournalAnthropology Today
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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