Title

Is it agency? An integrative interpretation of female adolescents' sexual behaviour in three remote Australian Aboriginal communities

RIS ID

130320

Publication Details

Burbank, V., Senior, K. & McMullen, S. (2018). Is it agency? An integrative interpretation of female adolescents' sexual behaviour in three remote Australian Aboriginal communities. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 29 (3), 316-331.

Abstract

In this paper we attempt to understand at least some of the complex and interacting forces - cultural, biological, developmental and historical - that influence adolescents' sexual behaviour in three remote Australian Aboriginal communities. We use the concept of 'agency' only as a foil for our interpretation. Drawing upon ethnographic material, we focus on: 'walkin' around at night', avoidance of arranged marriages and the exchange of sexual favours for drugs and money. Cognitive, evolutionary, and neuroscience enable us to illustrate the interpenetration of sociocultural and psychobiological factors in adolescent girls' behaviour: expectations about marriage, a desire for love, sexual urges, a brain that is highly responsive to peers and rewards, a disadvantaged and uncertain environment, and challenges to effective adult control.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/taja.12292