This paper utilizes ethnography and oral history to examine local perspectives on one aspect of the health transition, the female life cycle, in postcolonial Botswana. Botswana has undergone a remarkably rapid epidemiologic transition in recent decades, and it thus provides a unique context within which local actors analyze the interaction between biological and sociocultural change. Improvements in the standard of living have resulted in both an earlier onset for puberty in girls and an increased incidence of stroke among older women, thus refashioning the female life course. Local analysis and commentary on the shifting norms of women's bodies read this phenomenon alongside broader historical transformations. In the process they complicate basic assumptions in international health about the meanings of health and development.


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pp. 133-162
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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