Paths to Adulthood

Freedom, Belonging & Temporalities in
Mbunda Biographies from Western Zambia


By Michael Barrett
December 2004
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 9155460976
403 pages, 6 " x 8 "
$77.50 Paper Original


This is a Ph.D. dissertation. In this study, the author explores the relationship between adulthood and historical processes in a rural district of Western Zambia. Approaching the life cycle from a perspective of social practice, the potential and limits of conditioning is illuminated through ethnography and life histories of Mbunda people in Kalabo District of Western Province.

Situated between the Zambezi River and the Angolan border, the district suffered harsh economic decline during the last decades of the 20th century, creating a demanding social environment for young people in need of its resources for livelihood, household formation, and marriage. The study traces young people's life paths in time and space, between urban and rural areas and through the ebb and flow of social relationships. With a theoretical framework grounded in regional social landscapes and attuned to the realities of particular persons, broader issues like historicity, power, gender and creativity are examined through the prism of adulthood.

Anthropology; African Studies
Uppsala Studies in Cultural Anthropology No. 38

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