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Waithood: Gender, Education, and Global Delays in Marriage and Childbearing

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Volume 47

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Gender, Education, and Global Delays in Marriage and Childbearing

Edited by Marcia C. Inhorn and Nancy J. Smith-Hefner

410 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-899-3 $145.00/£107.00 Hb Not Yet Published (December 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-900-6 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is a beautifully organized and very well edited volume… The chapters are rich both ethnographically and theoretically and as a whole this volume makes several unique and distinctive contributions to an interdisciplinary academic literature on kinship and reproduction”. • Lisa L. Wynn, President, Australian Anthropological Society


The concept of “Waithood” was developed by political scientist Diane Singerman to describe the expanding period of time between adolescence and full adulthood as young people wait to secure steady employment and marry. The contributors to this volume employ the waithood concept as a frame for richly detailed ethnographic studies of “youth in waiting” from a variety of world areas, including the Middle East Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the U.S, revealing that whether voluntary or involuntary, the phenomenon of youth waithood necessitates a recognition of new gender and family roles.

Marcia C. Inhorn is William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University, where she is the Chair of the Council on Middle East Studies. A specialist on Middle East gender, religion, and reproductive health issues, she is the author of six award-winning books, including her most recent, America’s Arab Refugees: Vulnerability and Health on the Margins (Stanford, 2018).

Nancy J. Smith-Hefner is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Boston University. She is a specialist of Southeast Asia, gender, and Islam. Her most recent book Islamizing Intimacies: Youth, Sexuality, and Gender in Contemporary Indonesia (Hawaii, 2019) is a study of the changing personal lives and sexual attitudes of educated, Muslim Javanese youth.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Gender Studies and Sexuality Sociology


List of Figures

Introduction: Waithood: Gender, Education, and Global Delays in Marriage and Childbearing
Nancy J. Smith-Hefner and Marcia C. Inhorn

Part I: Waithood, Statehood, and the Struggle for Dignity

Chapter 1. Youth, Economics, and the Politics of Waithood: The Struggle for Dignity in the Middle East and North Africa
Diane Singerman

Chapter 2. “Trusting is a Dicey Affair”: Muslim Youth, Gender Relations, and Future-Making in Southwestern Uganda
Dorothea E. Schulz

Chapter 3. Waiting at the Fada: Young Men, “Tea Circles,” and Delayed Adulthood in Niger
Adeline Masquelier

Chapter 4. Emergent Waithood: Institutions and Marriage Delays among Mayan Women in Guatemala
Nicole S. Berry

Part II: Gender, Education, and the Aspiration for Autonomy

Chapter 5. Active Waithood: Youthmen, Fatherhood, and Men’s Educational Aspirations in Sierra Leone
Kristen E. McLean

Chapter 6. “Giving Oneself Time”: Marriage and Motherhood in Urban Rwanda
Aalyia Feroz Ali Sadruddin

Chapter 7. Tactics of Marriage Delay in China: Education, Rural-to-Urban Migration, and “Leftover Women”
Zachary M. Howlett

Chapter 8. Too Educated to Marry? Muslim Women and Extended Singlehood in Indonesia
Nancy J. Smith-Hefner

Part III: Delayed Marriage and the Meanings of Singlehood

Chapter 9. Conjugal Conundrums: Conversion and Marriage Delay in the Contemporary Caribbean
Brendan Jamal Thornton

Chapter 10. Between Cynicism and Idealism: Voluntary Waithood in Iran
Mehrdad Babadi

Chapter 11. Refusing to Settle: Migration among Single Professional Women in Jordan
Fida Adely

Chapter 12. Never-Married Women in India: Gendered Life Courses, Desires, and Identities in Flux
Sarah Lamb

Part IV: Delayed Childbearing and the Quest for Motherhood

Chapter 13. Blamed for Delay: French Norms and Practices of ART in the Context of Increasing Age-Related Female Infertility
Manon Vialle

Chapter 14. Waiting Too Long to Mother: Involuntary Childlessness and Assisted Reproduction in Contemporary Spain
Beatriz San Román

Chapter 15. The Egg Freezing Revolution? Gender, Education, and Reproductive Waithood in America
Marcia C. Inhorn

Conclusion: Waithood in the Twenty-First Century
Marcia C. Inhorn and Nancy J. Smith-Hefner


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