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Vital conjunctures and the negotiation of future : rural girls between urban middle class households and early marriage

Title data

Alber, Erdmute:
Vital conjunctures and the negotiation of future : rural girls between urban middle class households and early marriage.
In: Sieveking, Nadine ; Dallywater, Lena (ed.): Vital Conjunctures Revisited - Gender in Times of Uncertainty. - Leipzig , 2016 . - pp. 17-27 . - (Working Papers of the Priority Programme 1448 of the German Research Foundation ; 18 )

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

This paper connects my reflections on the concept of vital conjunctures, which has accompanied my research for a while, with the interpretation of empirical material from Benin, West Africa, collected in the framework of a larger collaborative research project on “African middle classes on the rise”.
1. My research focus within this framework is to investigate processes of social differentiation within kin-groups in the republic of Benin, and the impact of these differentiations on the future perspectives of the actors. The general argument and finding is that in the actual situation of rising socioeconomic differences, not only kin-groups are becoming more and more in-homogeneous, but also households.
In the following I first give an account of my understanding of Johnson-Hanks’ concept of vital conjunctures and then apply it to an extended case study from my research in Benin. I focus on the story of a rural Baatombu girl called Gloria, who was given to an urban middle class household of relatives in order to “help” working there.
2. Although she wanted to stay in town, she had to leave the household after some years, and given into marriage to a young peasant man in the village. I analyze the case story by relating it to Johnson-Hank´s concept of vital conjuncture. However, somewhat different from her argument, I analyze my case story as an entanglement of different vital conjunctures of various people, who are negotiating different futures, not only the future of the girl Gloria but also their own. In my analysis I indicate how the potential of the concept of vital conjunctures as outlined by Johnson Hanks can be enlarged by adding further dimensions to the concept. In my conclusion I explain how these further layers of analysis relate to the dimension of time.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a book
Refereed: No
Keywords: Life courses; vital events; social transformation; gender; uncertainty
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Chair Social Anthropology
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Chair Social Anthropology > Chair Social Anthropology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Erdmute Alber
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 07:56
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2019 09:57
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/33138