Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South by Cecilia Van Hollen

By Cecilia Van Hollen

Even childbirth is tormented by globalization--and in India, as somewhere else, the craze is clear of domestic births, assisted via midwives, towards health center births with expanding reliance on new applied sciences. And but, as this paintings of serious feminist ethnography in actual fact demonstrates, the worldwide unfold of biomedical versions of childbirth has now not introduced forth one monolithic kind of "modern birth." targeting the beginning studies of lower-class girls within the South Indian country of Tamil Nadu, beginning at the Threshold finds the complicated and specific ways that modernity emerges in neighborhood contexts. via brilliant description and lively discussion, this booklet conveys the start tales of the ladies of Tamil Nadu of their personal voices, emphasizing their evaluations of and aspirations for contemporary births this day. In gentle of those tales, writer Cecilia Van Hollen explores greater questions on how the constructions of colonialism and postcolonial overseas and nationwide improvement have helped to form the shape and which means of beginning for Indian ladies at the present time. finally, her ebook poses the query: How is gender--especially maternity--reconfigured as delivery is remodeled?

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29 Many have emphasized the ways in which birthing women and female midwives have been disempowered by the rise of the male biomedical establishment. 35 Such studies often focus on the social, political, and cultural barriers to the acceptance of Western obstetrics in non-Western societies and make recommendations for changes in the manner in which Western obstetrics are delivered in such settings. 36 One of the important contributions of Jordan’s original work was the fact that she not only looked at differences between highly biomedicalized and non-biomedicalized birth practices, but she also revealed variation among biomedical models of birth in three different countries: the United States, Sweden, and Holland.

It was December and the night was cold. At the canal they boarded a small sailboat and sailed to Thiruvanmiyur. It took seven hours to reach Thiruvanmiyur from Kaanathur. From Thiruvanmiyur they went by horse-cart to Adyar. And from Adyar they could take a bus to Kasthurba Gandhi Hospital. m. There was a doctor there who attended to them. The baby survived but his wife died in the hospital two days later. That was in 1952. It had taken them ten and a half hours to reach Kasthurba Gandhi Hospital from Kaanathur.

It did not make sense to drag her along with me wherever I went, into hospitals, homes, government offices, and libraries. In fact, I felt that because of the demands of her age (six months to one and a half years), having her with me during my research would have been disruptive and would have made it very difficult for me to concentrate on what others were saying or doing. Instead, most of the time Lila remained home and part-time in a local day care, and I had to contend with being a somewhat frenzied working mother in India just as in America.

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Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South by Cecilia Van Hollen
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