Ethnographies of Breastfeeding: Cultural Contexts and Confrontations

Front Cover
Tanya Cassidy, Abdullahi El Tom
Bloomsbury Publishing, Jan 29, 2015 - Social Science - 288 pages
0 Reviews
Breastfeeding is an intimate and deeply rooted bodily practice, as well as a highly controversial sociocultural process which invokes strong reactions from advocates and opponents. Touching on a wide range of issues such as reproduction, sexuality, power and resources, and maternal and infant health, the controversies and cultural complexities underlying breastfeeding are immense.

Ethnographies of Breastfeeding
features the latest research on the topic. Some of the leading scholars in the field explore variations in breastfeeding practices from around the world. Based on empirical work in areas such as Brazil, West Africa, Darfur, Ireland, Italy, France, the UK and the US, they examine the cross-cultural challenges facing mothers feeding their infants.

Reframing the traditional nature/culture debate, the book moves beyond existing approaches to consider themes such as surrogacy, the risk of milk banks, mother-to-mother sharing networks facilitated by social media, and the increasing bio-medicalization of breast milk, which is leading its transformation from process to product.

A highly important contribution to global debates on breast milk and breastfeeding.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Introduction Tanya M Cassidy and Abdullahi El Tom
1 The Embodied Experience of Breastfeeding and the ProductProcess Dichotomy in São Paulo Brazil Alanna EF Rudzik
The Discourses Practices and Identities of Informal Milk Sharing Aunchalee Palmquist
3 Historical Ethnography and the Meanings of Human Milk in Ireland Tanya Cassidy
Exploring Womens Experiences of Breastfeeding and Expressing in the UK and France Charlotte Faircloth
5 The Naturalist Discourse Surrounding Breastfeeding among French Mothers Gervaise Debucquet and Valérie Adt
Breastmilk Migration and Milk Banking in Italy Rossella Cevese
7 Religion Wetnursing and Laying the Ground for Breastmilk Banking in Darfur Sudan Abdullahi Osman El Tom
9 Impersonal Perspectives on Public Health Guidelines on Infant Feeding and HIV in Malawi Anne Matthews
Issues and Dilemmas in Surrogacy Sunita Reddy Tulsi Patel Malene Tanderup Birgitte Bruun Nielsen
11 Breastmilk Donation as Care Work Katherine Carroll
12 Women and Children First? Gender Power and Resources and their Implications for Infant Feeding Vanessa Maher

Womens Strategies Prevention of HIV Transmission Alice Desclaux and Chiara Alfieri

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2015)

Tanya Cassidy is a research fellow at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland and is adjunct professor with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology at the University of Windsor in Canada.

Abdullahi El Tom is Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM), Ireland and was elected to the executive board of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in 2010.

Bibliographic information