Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 433-462

Female sexuality, social reproduction, and the politics of medical intervention in Niger: Kel Ewey Tuareg perspectives

  • Susan J. RasmussenAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Houston

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This essay explores connections between political institutions, forms of power, and women's health care concerns from a cultural anthropological perspective. I focus on the roles of different medical establishments among the Kel Ewey Tuareg of Niger—Western-European sponsored, central state, traditional herbalism and Islamic scholarship—in creating, maintaining, and disputing these constructs, through the invention and elaboration of disease categories and through the selective application of medical and reproductive models and technology to women. I also explore women's attempts to manage these forces, as they draw upon a cultural inventory that is alternately supportive and in conflict with their interests.