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Ertlmaier, Sophia

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Sophia Ertlmaier

Research Interests:

reproduction, fertility, family planning, contraception, motherhood/parenthood, education, middle classes/classness in Africa

Geographical Area:


Current Project:

Education - Work - Having Children: Family Planning of Middle Class Women in Lagos, Nigeria

„Education - Work - Having Children: Family Planning of Middle Class Women in Lagos, Nigeria“
The population growth in African countries has lead to many attempts to control it through the promotion of family planning. This is also the case in Nigeria, where the fertility rate is nevertheless expected to continue to be relatively high. Anthropological approaches have shown the heterogeneity of such reproductive trends and the need for more in-depth studies. In addition, past and current debates around rising middle classes in the Global South expect and anticipate them to take on an important role in processes termed as ‘modernization’ or ‘development’. On that issue as well, anthropological perspectives called for a more differentiated and locally defined view. With my PhD project, I aim to contribute to the discourse around family planning by linking it to the topics of women working and their ideals of a good life, embedded in a comprehensive context of middle classes and the compatibility of family and (formal) employment. So far, there are studies about fertility, contraceptive use, and middle classes in Nigeria and other African countries. But even though many of them cover or refer to similar aspects and factors, they never explicitly connect these topics. Therefore, the goal of my PhD project is to understand the reproductive decisions and behavior of young urban middle class women and associated aspects of education, work, and family patterns, which in turn affect these reproductive decisions and behavior. 


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