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October 2021

Med Anthropol Q. 1998 Sep; 12(3): 363-83.

Repairing broken rules: care-seeking narratives for menstrual problems in rural Mali.

Slobin K.

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Dakota State University, USA.

Narratives play an important role in the organization of therapeutic action in rural Mali. This article provides structural and interpretive analyses of a young, French-speaking Dogon woman's accounts of her efforts to manage her menstrual bleeding and threatened infertility. Through her personal narratives she creates social arenas to recruit support, negotiate changes in her family relationships, and enhance her standing as a member of the community. Beginning with the accounts of her fear and helplessness, the narrator integrates past events into her unfolding present and achieves a meaningful resolution of her problem. Her narratives weave together encounters with family members, friends, and healers to describe a therapeutic itinerary that acquires significance as a transformative experience.

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