Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

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University of California Press, 1997 - Health & Fitness - 505 pages
2 Reviews
This benchmark collection of cross-cultural essays on reproduction and childbirth extends and enriches the work of Brigitte Jordan, who helped generate and define the field of the anthropology of birth. The authors' focus on authoritative knowledge the knowledge that counts, on the basis of which decisions are made and actions taken highlights the vast differences between birthing systems that give authority of knowing to women and their communities and those that invest it in experts and machines."Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge" offers first-hand ethnographic research conducted by anthropologists in sixteen different societies and cultures and includes the interdisciplinary perspectives of a social psychologist, a sociologist, an epidemiologist, a staff member of the World Health Organization, and a community midwife. Exciting directions for further research as well as pressing needs for policy guidance emerge from these illuminating explorations of authoritative knowledge about birth. This book is certain to follow Jordan's "Birth in Four Cultures" as the definitive volume in a rapidly expanding field."
 

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Review: Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

User Review  - Beth - Goodreads

AMAZING book on the anthropology of birth, authoritative knowledge (aka: why do a few white, male, western doctors get to decide for women around the globe how they should give birth?) and birth practices aroound the world. The author is one of my heroes. Read full review

Contents

Authoritative Knowledge and Its Construction
55
An Evolutionary Perspective on Authoritative Knowledge about Birth
80
Fetal Ultrasound Imaging and the Production of Authoritative Knowledge in Greece
91
The Production of Authoritative Knowledge in American Prenatal Care
113
What Do Women Want? Issues of Choice Control and Class in American Pregnancy and Childbirth
132
Authoritative Knowledge and Birth Territories in Contemporary Japan
159
Ways of Knowing about Birth in Three Cultures
183
Authoritative Touch in Childbirth A CrossCultural Approach
209
Intuition as Authoritative Knowledge in Midwifery and Home Birth
315
Randomized Controlled Trials as Authoritative Knowledge Keeping an Ally from Becoming a Threat to North American Midwifery Practice
350
Confessions of a Dissident
366
Women come here on their own when they need to Prenatal Care Authoritative Knowledge and Maternal Health in Oaxaca
397
Maternal Health War and Religious Tradition Authoritative Knowledge in Pujehun District Sierra Leone
421
Heeding Warnings from the Canary the Whale and the Inuit A Framework for Analyzing Competing Types of Knowledge about Childbirth
441
An Ideal of Unassisted Birth Hunting Healing and Transformation among the Kalahari Juhoansi
474
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
493

Authority in Translation Finding Knowing Naming and Training Traditional Birth Attendants in Nepal
233
Changing Childbirth in Eastern Europe Which Systems of Authoritative Knowledge Should Prevail?
263
Resistance to TechnologyEnhanced Childbirth in Tuscany The Political Economy of Italian Birth
287

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Page 54 - Jordan explains authoritative knowledge in the following way: 'for any particular domain, several knowledge systems exist, some of which, by consensus, come to carry more weight than others, either because they explain the state of the world better for the purposes at hand (efficacy) or because they are associated with a stronger power base (structural superiority), and usually both
Page 54 - A consequence of the legitimation of one kind of knowing as authoritative is the devaluation, often the dismissal, of all other kinds of knowing.

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About the author (1997)

Robbie E. Davis-Floyd is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University of Texas, Austin, and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She is author of "Birth as an American Rite of Passage "(second edition, UC Press), among other books. Lesley Barclay is Director and Professor at the Centre for Family Health and Midwifery at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Betty-Anne Daviss is a practicing midwife and Adjunct Professor at the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's Studies at Carleton University. Jan Tritten is founder and editor-in-chief of "Midwifery Today "magazine.

Sargrent is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Women's Studies at Southern Methodist University.

Rapp is Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. She has been involved in movements to establish reproductive rights and active in women's studies for over 25 years.

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