Shifting maternal responsibilities and the trajectory of blame in Northern Ghana

Aaron R. Denham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


One afternoon early in my fieldwork in the Upper East Region of Ghana, I accompanied a local NGO worker and a community health nurse to visit a sick three-year-old girl named Azuma, her mother, Abiiro, and their extended family.1 The NGO worker had concerns not only about Azuma's poor health, but also about circulating rumors that the family suspected her of being a "spirit child" - a malicious spirit from the bush with a grave intention of destroying the family. From the NGO worker's perspective, Azuma was at risk because of her medical condition and the chance that family members would administer to her a deadly poisonous concoction. From the family's perspective, Azuma represented a risk to her mother, the family's livelihood, and its continued existence in this and in the ancestral world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRisk, reproduction and narratives of experience
EditorsLauren Fordyce, Aminata Maraesa
Place of PublicationNashville
PublisherVanderbilt University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780826518194, 9780826518200
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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