Global health anthropology
NRC-NORGLOBAL Research Project 2016-19


C) Strategies employed by adolescent girls and boys to control their fertility, and male involvement in the reproductive field

Main content

The component has a key focus on community concerns with adolescent girls’ ability to control their own fertility, to access to sexual and reproductive health education and contraception, and the role of adolescent boys/men on reproduction. Central research questions are:

  • What systems of knowledge and moralities do adolescent girls and women draw on to negotiate, strategize and/or cope with challenges related to fertility control and abortion?
  • What are the school based-, socio-cultural, religious and policy messages pertaining to gender and sexuality that adolescent girls are exposed to, and how do these messages affect their decisions making processes about fertility and abortion?
  • What is the process of seeking safe abortion services (information seeking, decision making) and to what extent is the male partner involved in this process?
  • How do adolescent boys and men see their role in reproduction and their responsibility in sexual relations and with reference to prevailing notions of masculinity?

Focus: The broader aim of this component is to explore 'local moral worlds' of communities that shape the way adolescents talk about, but also manoeuvre, negotiate and seek loopholes for action to control their fertility or to end unwanted pregnancy. The projects included in the component will explore how the adolescents access information and services related to fertility control, including abortion, and the ways they manage to draw upon and use this information and services, with a particular focus on thoughts, practices and experiences. The projects will also seek to grasp the ways in which abortion is configured as a moral and cultural category and adolescents’ ways of grappling with potential competing moralities. Moreover, they will explore boys’ and men’s roles, responsibilities and experiences with sexual relationships, including the expectations towards them as partners, sexual partners and potential fathers. As in component B, particular attention will be paid to how silences are enacted. Structural and moral barriers as well as adolescent agency will be emphasized.

Methods: Extended ethnographic fieldwork combined with key informant interviews, group discussions and participatory research (cf. Component B).