Dynamic Processes and the Anthropology of Emotions in the Life Course and Aging: Late-Life Love Sentiments and Household Dynamics in Tuareg Psycho-Biographies



In a preliminary way, this vignette suggests a precarious balancing of personal love sentiments and larger economic considerations of benefit to the household over longterm—a reverberating theme in Tuareg love arrangements over the life course. More generally, the topic of love illustrates the limits of participant-observation in ethnography. Love, an affective personal experience whose semiotic signs are expressed in sociability, but are inwardly perceived very subjectively, but also subject to much outsider “meta-commentary” beyond the lovers themselves, is ambiguous. Dynamic study of this emotion poses analytical challenges, but also offers insights into inter-individual and intra-individual variation and change over time, the theme of the present volume. In keeping with this theme and its aim—to bring into one framework various directions of construction of methodology of dynamic processes in the social sciences—the present essay analyzes Tuareg cultural elaborations of late-life love sentiments and attachments in relation to age constructs, thereby situating persons and social groups in their individual cases as they work to produce performance differences (Valsiner, Molenaar, Lyra, & Chaudhary, this volume).


Late Life Married Child Social Expression Romantic Love Intergenerational Relationship 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyMcElhinney Hall, University of HoustonHoustonUSA

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