Reconfiguring Old Age: Elderly Women and Concerns over Care in Southeastern Botswana

Julie Livingston

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    This paper explores recent changes in the negotiation of female old age in Southeastern Botswana. Over the past one-quarter century epidemiological and demographic transitions, increasing pressures on lay nursing care, changes in work, and the introduction of pensions have led to a fracturing of old age. The constituent elements of old age - senescence and social elderhood - have shifted at different tempos and in different directions in historically contingent ways. Using Margaret Lock's notion of "local biology," this paper explores transformations in the bio-social dialectic that have reconfigured and redefined the aging process. It argues that the "normal" physiology and social position of seniors have changed so that chronic illness is increasingly seen as part of "normal" old age, as is the lack of socio-economic and cultural power to command care.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)205-231
    Number of pages27
    JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 2003


    • Aging
    • Botswana
    • Care
    • Chronic illness
    • Senescence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Anthropology


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