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.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1989.