First Find Your Child a Good Mother: The Construction of Self in Two African Communities

By Paul Riesman | Go to book overview

PROLOGUE BURKINA FASO, 1974-76: A PERSONAL MEMOIR

Suzanne Riesman

Most of this book was in manuscript form in Paul's briefcase when he died in June 1988. He had written it during a recent sabbatical year we spent in Paris. It came out of fieldwork we did as a family in 1974-76 in the small town of Djibo, in Burkina Faso. When we returned to the United States, Paul became immersed in teaching, to which he was devoted, and was preoccupied with tenure, health problems, family life, and requests to write articles and attend conferences on subjects that interested him, such as aging and development, but which were not his main research project. He managed to write several articles related to his main interests, in particular on the person and the life cycle, and on the irrelevance of child rearing to personality formation, but as time passed he grew more and more frustrated. He felt he had been writing too many theoretical articles and wanted to get down to the more ethnographic writing of the book to back them up.

Much of the year before the sabbatical was spent organizing his materials into a data base and he actually started writing on his computer at our apartment on rue Montbrun in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, in late fall of 1986. He had hoped to finish the whole book by the end of the sabbatical year and felt very disap

-xiii-

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First Find Your Child a Good Mother: The Construction of Self in Two African Communities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS vi
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • PROLOGUE BURKINA FASO, 1974-76: A PERSONAL MEMOIR xiii
  • REFLEXIVITY IN HUMANISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY 1
  • I - Introduction 8
  • 2 - Global Fulani Society 14
  • 3 - Economy 30
  • 4 - What Life is All About 43
  • 5 - Infancy and Early Childhood 105
  • 6 - Later Childhood 130
  • 7 - Child Development in Fulani Ethnopsychology 160
  • 8 - Self, Identity, and Personality 184
  • 9 - Conclusion 196
  • Theoretical Implications 224
  • Notes 231
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 237
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