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Reproduction And Social Organization In Sub-saharan Africa
by Ron J. Lesthaeghe
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Unlike most Asian and Latin American countries, sub-Saharan Africa has seen both an increase in population growth rates and a weakening of traditional patterns of child-spacing since the 1960s. It is tempting to conclude that sub-Saharan countries have simply not reached adequate levels of income, education, and urbanization for a fertility decline to occur. This book argues, however, that such a socioeconomic threshold hypothesis will not provide an adequate basis for comparison.
These authors take the view that any reproductive regime is also anchored to a broader pattern of social organization, including the prevailing modes of production, rules of exchange, patterns of religious systems, kinship structure, division of labor, and gender roles. They link the characteristic features of the African reproductive regime with regard to nuptiality, polygyny, breastfeeding, postpartum abstinence, sterility, and child-fostering to other specifically African characteristics of social organization and culture. Substantial attention is paid to the heterogeneity that prevails among sub-Saharan societies and considerable use is made, therefore, of interethnic comparisons. As a result the book goes considerably beyond mere demographic description and builds bridges between demography and anthropology or sociology.
From the Inside Flap
"A unique and pathbreaking work that will exert a lasting influence on the thinking of demographers, anthropologists, and development specialists working in Africa."--Etienne van de Walle, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
"The collection is remarkable in its concentration on culturally-bound determinants of fertility that are particular to Africa and consequently require a departure from the now classical styles of demographic analysis for other regions. . . . A high-quality treatment of a topic of quite broad interest."--Odile Frank, World Health Organization, Geneva
From the Back Cover
"A unique and pathbreaking work that will exert a lasting influence on the thinking of demographers, anthropologists, and development specialists working in Africa." (Etienne van de Walle, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania)
About the Author
Ron J. Lesthaeghe is Professor of Sociology and Demography and Director of the Sociology Research Center at the Vrije Universiteit of Brussels. He has been the author or editor of several other books in the field of demography.
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