Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America / Edition 1

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Overview


"A powerful intervention into one of the most important debates of our time. Meticulous in her methods and wise in her insight, Lock tames a sea of stormy argument to show how complex and consequential is the interplay of culture and biology. Her book will make great strides toward her ultimate goal: to dislodge the myth of the Menopausal Woman."—Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
While the end of menstruation is a biological universal in women, the set of symptoms often reported to go along with it is not. Lock bases this conclusion on extensive interviews with Japanese women, who reported very few of the symptoms commonly reported in Europe and North America. Menopause is not necessarily a conglomerate of biochemical changes in mid-life but an ambiguous and ongoing state that is experienced differently in individual women. Like Robbie Davis-Floyd's book on childbirth, Birth as an American Rite of Passage ( LJ 8/92), this work looks at how culture, especially Western culture, seeks to control the natural physiological processes of the female body by medicalizing and pathologizing its normal functions. Lock's focus on menopause as a point of departure for discussing nature/culture dichotomies makes for a brilliant addition to the growing literature on the anthropology of the human body. A necessary purchase for anthropology collections and most academic libraries.-- Patricia Sarles, Midwood H.S. Lib., Brooklyn, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520201620
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/30/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 439
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author


Margaret Lock is Professor in the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine and Anthropology at McGill University. She is coeditor of Knowledge, Power, and Practice: The Anthropology of Medicine and Everyday Life (California, 1993) and author of East Asian Medicine in Urban Japan (California, 1980). In 2003, she was awarded the Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology, of the American Anthropology Association.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Prologue: Scientific Discourse and Aging Women
Pt. I Japan: Maturity and Konenki 1
1 The Turn of Life - Unstable Meanings 3
2 Probabilities and Konenki 31
3 Resignation, Resistance, Satisfaction - Narratives of Maturity 46
4 The Pathology of Modernity 78
5 Faltering Discipline and the Ailing Family 107
6 Illusion of Indolence - Ideology and Partial Truths 135
7 Odd Women Out 171
8 Controlled Selves and Tempered Bodies 202
9 Peering Behind the Platitudes - Rituals of Resistance 233
10 The Doctoring of Konenki 256
"Invisible Messengers" 299
Pt. II From Dodging Time to Deficiency Disease 301
11 The Making of Menopause 303
12 Against Nature - Menopause as Herald of Decay 330
"An Act of Freedom" 368
Epilogue: The Politics of Aging - Flashes of Immortality 370
Notes 389
Bibliography 401
Index 429
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