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Parental death as a vital conjuncture? Intergenerational care and responsibility following bereavement in Senegal

Evans, R. ORCID: (2014) Parental death as a vital conjuncture? Intergenerational care and responsibility following bereavement in Senegal. Social and Cultural Geography, 15 (5). pp. 547-570. ISSN 1470-1197

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2014.908234


This article explores the ways that parental death represents a 'vital conjuncture' for Serer young people that reconfigures and potentially transforms intergenerational caring responsibilities in different spatial and temporal contexts. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with young people (aged 15-27), family members, religious and community leaders and professionals in rural and urban Senegal, I explore young people's responses to parental death. 'Continuing bonds' with the deceased were expressed through memories evoked in homespace, shared family practices and gendered responsibilities to 'take care of' bereaved family members, to cultivate inherited farmland and to fulfil the wishes of the deceased. Parental death could reconfigure intergenerational care and lead to shifts in power dynamics, as eldest sons asserted their position of authority. While care-giving roles were associated with agency, the low social status accorded to young women's paid and unpaid domestic work undermined their efforts. The research contributes to understandings of gendered nuances in the experience of bereavement and continuing bonds and provides insight into intra-household decision-making processes, ownership and control of assets. Analysis of the culturally specific meanings of relationships and a young person's social location within hierarchies of gender, age, sibling birth order and wider socio-cultural norms and practices is needed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:37423
Uncontrolled Keywords:Care and responsibility Intergenerational relations Death and bereavement Youth transitions Family practices West Africa
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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