Dancing Skeletons Summary

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Katherine Dettwyler is author of Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa and an American Anthropologist. Her work for this book is specifically concentrated on her inquisitiveness for nutritional anthropology in malnourished West African children by researching health and infant cultural practices. She provides vivid descriptions and multiple vignettes of her personal fieldwork encounters with children in Mali, Africa. Diversified topics pertaining to ethnocentrism of are investigated and significant to understand in this particular study. Culture shock, child care, roles of both women and men in different societies, control of population, breastfeeding customs, and definitions of disability and mortality for children are included. For…show more content…
For example, if one man has only nine children in total, but another man has fourteen, then he will be seen as being more prosperous. As seen in page 78, “ He controls the lives and loyalties of many people”. ( Dettwyler 1993) Islam is a religion carried out by many West Africans which facilitates the idea of obtaining an increasing number of children. Even if a man is poorer than the next, yet with more biological children he will be admired by town villagers for his ability to dominate other people’s lives. His current children and grandchildren will honor and provide for him when he grows old making him unable to conduct laborious activities. Meanwhile, in Western countries for one to be successful means maintaining a high social status which requires the individual to possess as many material goods or money as possible. As an example, obtaining a large quantity and best quality of yachts, vehicles, houses, shoes, clothes, and ect. Therefore, it is culturally and economically ideal for an individual to have less kids rather than more to ensure the guarantee for these
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