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Medicalization of our bodies- unit 4.docx

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ANTH 2170
Anna Pratt

Medicalization of our bodies The Anthropology of Reproduction  The anthropology of reproduction explores the social, cultural, and political complexities involved in human reproduction in contemporary and historical worlds  Powerful institutions within society such as biomedicine, law, and politics also shape the way people imagine and manage their reproductive lives, as do global economic and development trends  Medical anthropologist are interested in looking at variety of things: history of medical practices, notion of medicine, particular techniques have changed over time, exploring prevention of illness and infection, human reproduction  Interested in bio-medicine: another term for dominant western health medical practices; example: doctors, nurses, hospitals- this system has been supported by dominant western medical practices which has been covered by government funding  Covers: Laws of abortion, rights of genetic parents/adopted parents, child custody, politics, shape the way people imagine their lives What set the stage for an increased interest in reproduction? - Women entering anthropology in greater numbers in the 1970s - The infusion of feminist and critical perspectives - The rise of medical anthropology as a sub- discipline - Feminist critique of medicalized childbirth in the west- child birth has been increasingly in western society as a “condition” therefore, pregnancy has to be monitored and controlled in order for women to have a proper pregnancy; increasingly women’s bodies have been used for medical intervention which changes in ways we think about female body and state of being - Concern about the profound impact on "traditional societies" of the global - Influenced by social changes that occurred in the western societies and North America - More women were becoming anthropologist and were having feminist perspective; that means they started to study feminist issues such as birth - Started to study notion of health and well being in 1970’s - Anthropologist recognized the value of biomedicine but still you cannot impose this medical treatment to the society - Medical should be introduced in a respectful way and try to create a single way that is in respect with different societies Spread of Western medicine.  Anthropology of midwifery and childbirth The act of giving birth to a child is never simply a physiological act, but rather a performance defined by and enacted within a cultural context" (Romalis 1981: 6) ­ Element is guided by scripted performance in respect of bio-medicine  The essential difference between childbirth in America and childbirth in Merchang is clear: American women are delivered by obstetricians; Merchang women give birth" (Laderman 1983: 173) ­ When we think about the reproductive process it has become a medicalized event and is very much a practice that has a long history in North American socithies and has been gradually performed in the 20 century Midwifery in Canada:  Midwives (uthfficial) were commonplace until second half of 19 century; declined with rise of medical specialization  Took on the role of helping women give birth  Being present at the actual birth and included giving them natural drug and ease up the child birth  Also included and going and visiting women to help them about breast feeding and intending the new babies  Women that were middle age and had gone through the experience of birth  Was very much socially acceptable and most women gave birth with midwifes up until 1800s  “New midwifery” – arose out of second wave feminist movement in 1960’s and 1970’s  Rise of male medical profession occurred  People started to take a critical look and started to critique the midwifery  Therefore, midwifery declined  Today – 8% of all births via midwives  Most midwives were being paid by there service  Tradition that has started to increase again because we passed an act of midwifery Midwifery Act, 1991 “The practice of midwifery is the assessment and monitoring of women during pregnancy, labour and the post-partum period and of their newborn babies, the provision of care during normal pregnancy, labour and the post-partum period and the conducting of spontaneous normal vaginal deliveries – normal pregnancy without any issue ” (cited in MacDonald 2007:40). Midwifery:  Attitudes toward midwifery? It has been accepted after the act was passed 1991 gradually midwives started to be covered by OHIP; Mcdonald argues that even though practice has been legitimize there are still pervasive about midwifery  Often viewe
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