Why would young women initiate “risky” intimate relationships with strange men despite knowing that they could face social censure and even physical violence if things go wrong? This presentation explores intimate risk-taking among working class and rural Highlands women in Papua New Guinea, describing how new technologies (chiefly, the mobile phone) and new economic possibilities have created affective and financial incentives for potentially risky behaviour. Following Lyttleton (2014), I suggest their choices are not products of desperation or ignorance, but in many cases expressions of an emerging form of subjectivity that encourages girls and young women to be aspirational, adventure-seeking, and self-directed. I explore the relationship between this cultural shift and health and development efforts in the region.
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Last updated on Thursday 05 September 2019