The subject of medicalisation of childbirth in colonial India has so far been identified with three major themes: the attempt to reform or ‘sanitise’ the site of birthing practices, establishing lying-in hospitals and replacing traditional birth attendants with trained midwives and qualified female doctors. This book, part of the series The Social History of Health and Medicine in South Asia, looks at the interactions between childbirth and midwifery practices and colonial modernities. Taking eastern India as a case study and related research from other areas, with hard empirical data from local government bodies, municipal corporations and district boards, it goes beyond the conventional narrative to show how the late nineteenth-century initiatives to reform birthing practices were essentially a modernist response of the western-educated colonised middle class to the colonial critique of Indian sociocultural codes. It provides a perceptive historical analysis of how institutionalisation of midwifery was shaped by the debates on the women’s question, nationalism and colonial public health policies, all intersecting in the interwar years. The study traces the beginning of medicalisation of childbirth, the professionalisation of obstetrics, the agency of male doctors, inclusion of midwifery as an academic subject in medical colleges and consequences of maternal care and infant welfare. This book will greatly interest scholars and researchers in history, social medicine, public policy, gender studies and South Asian studies.
Over the past decade geographers have shown a growing interest in 'the body' as an important co-ordinate of subjectivity and as a way of understanding further relationships between people, place and space. To date, however geographers have published little on what is one of, if not the, most important of all bodies - bodies that conceive, give birth and nurture other bodies. It is time that feminist, social, and cultural geographers contributed more to debates about maternal bodies. This book offers a series of windows on the ways in which maternal bodies influence, and are influenced by, social and spatial processes. Topics covered include women ‘coming out’ as pregnant at work, changing fashion for pregnant women, being disabled and pregnant, the politics of home versus hospital birth, breastfeeding practices that sit outside the norm, women who are constructed as ‘bad’ mothers, and ‘e-mums’ (mothers who go on-line).
The death of Princess Diana unleashed an international outpouring of grief, love, and press attention virtually unprecedented in history. Yet the exhaustive effort to link an upper class white British woman with "the people" raises questions. What narrative of white femininity transformed Diana into a simultaneous signifier of a national and global popular? What ideologies did the narrative tap into to transform her into an idealized woman of the millennium? Why would a similar idealization not have appeared around a non-white, non-Western, or immigrant woman? Raka Shome investigates the factors that led to this defining cultural/political moment and unravels just what the Diana phenomenon represented for comprehending the relation between white femininity and the nation in postcolonial Britain and its connection to other white female celebrity figures in the millennium. Digging into the media and cultural artifacts that circulated in the wake of Diana's death, Shome investigates a range of theoretical issues surrounding motherhood and the production of national masculinities, global humanitarianism, transnational masculinities, the intersection of fashion and white femininity, and spirituality and national modernity. Her analysis explores how images of white femininity in popular culture intersect with issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, and transnationality in the performance of Anglo national modernities. Moving from ideas on the positioning of privileged white women in global neoliberalism to the emergence of new formations of white femininity in the millennium , Diana and Beyond fearlessly explains the late princess's never-ending renaissance and ongoing cultural relevance.
This collection explores birthing in the Pacific against the background of debates about tradition and modernity. A wide-ranging introduction and conclusion, together with case studies from Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga, show how simple contrasts between traditional and modern practices, technocratic and organic models of childbirth, indigenous and foreign approaches, and notions of "before" and "after" can be potent but problematic. The difficulties entailed confront public health programs concerned with practical issues of infant and maternal survival in developing countries as well as scholarly analyses of birthing in cross-cultural contexts. The introduction analyzes central concepts and themes: questions of survival, safety, and well-being; the significance of postures, practices, and sites; the role of midwives, traditional birth attendants, and nurses; and the role of men in birthing and reproduction. Contributors--four anthropologists, a historian, and a community health worker--offer insights into the ways mothers, midwives, and nurses relate the traditional and the modern, and how ideas of tradition and modernity have shaped representations of Pacific childbirth. The conclusion provides researchers with a guide to relevant literature from several disciplines. As a whole the collection warns against either a celebration of emancipation through biomedicine or a recuperative romance about women's past powers in reproduction. Contributors: Ruta Fiti-Sinclair, Margaret Jolly, Vicki Lukere, Shelley Mallett, Helen Morton, Christine Salomon.
The convergence of dramatic declines in birth rates worldwide, aside from sub-Saharan Africa, the rise of untrammelled global movement of capital, people and information, and the rapid-fire dissemination of a host of new medical technologies has led to the "globalization of motherhood". This book brings together research from the Global North and the Global South to illuminate how contemporary motherhood is being changed by the processes of globalization. It locates declining fertility and desire for motherhood in the context of female employment, the development of the global market in reproductive technologies, the rising transnational labour market demand for feminized carework, and changing family forms. Focusing on the impacts on women who mother- and enable others to do so- across diverse contexts, the book examines the way in which conception, gestation mothering labor and care are being mobilized across national boundaries. Bringing together demographers, sociologists, lawyers, public health and social theorists, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of globalization studies, development studies, gender studies, feminist politics, political economy, human rights, and social policy.
Amidst the unevenness and unpredictability of change in the Asia-Pacific region, women's lives are being transformed. This volume takes up the challenge of exploring the ways in which women are active players, collaborators, participants, leaders and resistors in the politics of change in the region. The editors focus attention on the politics of gender as a mobilizing centre for identities, and the ways in which individualized identity politics may be linked to larger collective emancipatory projects based on shared interests, practical needs, or common threats. Collectively, the chapters illustrate the complexity of women's strategies, the diversity of sites for action, and the flexibility of their alliances as they carve out niches for themselves in what are still largely patriarchal worlds. This book will be of vital interest to scholars in a range of subjects, including gender studies, human geography, women's studies, Asian studies, sociology and anthropology.
Even childbirth is affected by globalization—and in India, as elsewhere, the trend is away from home births, assisted by midwives, toward hospital births with increasing reliance on new technologies. And yet, as this work of critical feminist ethnography clearly demonstrates, the global spread of biomedical models of childbirth has not brought forth one monolithic form of "modern birth." Focusing on the birth experiences of lower-class women in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Birth on the Threshold reveals the complex and unique ways in which modernity emerges in local contexts. Through vivid description and animated dialogue, this book conveys the birth stories of the women of Tamil Nadu in their own voices, emphasizing their critiques of and aspirations for modern births today. In light of these stories, author Cecilia Van Hollen explores larger questions about how the structures of colonialism and postcolonial international and national development have helped to shape the form and meaning of birth for Indian women today. Ultimately, her book poses the question: How is gender—especially maternity—reconfigured as birth is transformed?
The twelve chapters in this volume seek to overcome the nationalist paradigm of Japanese repression and exploitation versus Korean resistance that has dominated the study of Korea’s colonial period (1910–1945) by adopting a more inclusive, pluralistic approach that stresses the complex relations among colonialism, modernity, and nationalism. By addressing such diverse subjects as the colonial legal system, radio, telecommunications, the rural economy, and industrialization and the formation of industrial labor, one group of essays analyzes how various aspects of modernity emerged in the colonial context and how they were mobilized by the Japanese for colonial domination, with often unexpected results. A second group examines the development of various forms of identity from nation to gender to class, particularly how aspects of colonial modernity facilitated their formation through negotiation, contestation, and redefinition.
"The question of maternity is crucial for feminists, to whom it represents both challenge and inspiration, as it is for many thinkers engaged with the issues of agency, corporeality, and ethics. This examination puts forward the idea of a ""maternal perform"
Feminist Perspectives on the Body provides an accessible introduction to this extremely popular new area and is aimed at students from a variety of disciplines who are interested in gaining an understanding of the key issues involved. The author explores many important topics including: the Western world's construction of the body as a theoretical, philosophical and political concept; the body and reproduction; medicalisation; cosmetic surgery and eating disorders; the body in performance; the private and the public body; working bodies and new ways of thinking about the body.
Based on extensive fieldwork in Calcutta, this book provides the first ethnography of how middle-class women in India understand and experience economic change through transformations of family life. It explores their ideas, practices and experiences of marriage, childbirth, reproductive change and their children's education, and addresses the impact that globalization is having on the new middle-classes in Asia more generally from a domestic perspective.
This innovative book traces the history of ideas and policymaking concerning population growth and infant and maternal welfare in Caribbean colonies wrestling with the aftermath of slavery. Focusing on Jamaica, Guyana, and Barbados from the nineteenth century through the 1930s, when violent labor protests swept the region, Juanita De Barros takes a comparative approach in analyzing the struggles among former slaves and masters attempting to determine the course of their societies after emancipation. Invested in the success of the "great experiment" of slave emancipation, colonial officials developed new social welfare and health policies. Concerns about the health and size of ex-slave populations were expressed throughout the colonial world during this period. In the Caribbean, an emergent black middle class, rapidly increasing immigration, and new attitudes toward medicine and society were crucial factors. While hemispheric and diasporic trends influenced the new policies, De Barros shows that local physicians, philanthropists, midwives, and the impoverished mothers who were the targets of this official concern helped shape and implement efforts to ensure the health and reproduction of Caribbean populations in the decades before independence.
This volume presents waried essays exploring women's voices, agencies and aesthetics in the traditional handling of chilbearing. Ayurveda as it comprehends reproduction, sohars (birth songs), birth narratives cord-cutters, dais' knowledge and compensation systems, as well as analyses of biomedical dominance and erasure of indigenous knowledge all provide a peek bechind the purdah in this critical reclamation of tradition.