Sex and Salvation: Youth, Families, and the Intimate Politics of Social Change in Madagascar


ACLS Fellowship Program


Comparative Human Development


This study investigates two responses to social and economic change in Madagascar: the mass entry of young women into prostitution and rising membership in Pentecostal churches. This ethnography argues that the social changes associated with globalization are not unilaterally imposed upon passive youth from the economic periphery through first world economic and cultural demands. Rather, as they seek to become adults, these youth selectively appropriate and transform normative practices around family, sexuality, gender, religion, and morality. This study charts how youth transform the cultural expectations around intimacy and the social meanings of human development, lived time, and value, thereby creating new social formations that constitute globalization.