Uncertain Honor: Modern Motherhood in an African Crisis

Paperback | December 15, 2005

byJennifer Johnson-Hanks

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In most countries, educated women have fewer children and have them later than uneducated women. In Uncertain Honor, Jennifer Johnson-Hanks argues that this demographic fact has social causes by offering a rich case study of contraception, abortion, and informal adoption among educated, ethnic Beti women in southern Cameroon.

Combining insights from demography and cultural anthropology, Johnson-Hanks argues that Beti women delay motherhood as part of a broader attempt to assert a modern form of honor only recently made possible by formal education, Catholicism, and economic change. Through itinerant school careers and manipulations of marriage, educated Beti women now manage their status as mothers in order to coordinate major life events in the face of social and economic uncertainty.

Carefully researched and clearly written, Uncertain Honor offers an intimate look at the lives of African women trying to reconcile motherhood with new professional roles in a context of dramatic social change.

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In most countries, educated women have fewer children and have them later than uneducated women. In Uncertain Honor, Jennifer Johnson-Hanks argues that this demographic fact has social causes by offering a rich case study of contraception, abortion, and informal adoption among educated, ethnic Beti women in southern Cameroon.Combining ...

From the Jacket

In most countries, educated women have fewer children and have them later than uneducated women. In Uncertain Honor, Jennifer Johnson-Hanks argues that this demographic fact has social roots by offering a rich case study of contraception, abortion, and informal adoption practices among educated, ethnic Beti women in southern Cameroon.C...

Jennifer Johnson-Hanks is assistant professor in the Department of Demography and an affiliate of the Department of Anthropology and the Center for African Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:December 15, 2005Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226401820

ISBN - 13:9780226401829

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction
2. A Social System in Transformation
3. The Making of Honorable Women
4. School in the Social World
5. Learning Honor in School
6. The Secret Politics of Sex
7. Vital Conjunctures
8. The Horizons of Honor
Epilogue
Notes
References
Index