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Reinscribing the Birthing Body: Homebirth as Ritual Performance

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dc.creator Cheyney, Melissa
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-17T16:38:53Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-17T16:38:53Z
dc.date.issued 2011-12
dc.identifier.citation Cheyney, M. (2011), Reinscribing the Birthing Body: Homebirth as Ritual Performance. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 25: 519–542. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1387.2011.01183.x en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/31122
dc.description.abstract In this article, I examine the clinical practices engaged in by U.S. homebirth midwives and their clients from the beginning of pregnancy through to the immediate postpartum period, deconstructing them for their symbolic and ritual content. Using data collected from open-ended, semistructured interviews and intensive participant-observation, I describe the roles ritual plays in the construction, performance, and maintenance of birth at home as a transgressive rite of passage. As midwives ritually elaborate approaches to care to capitalize on their semiotic power to transmit a set of counterhegemonic values to participants, they are attempting, quite self-consciously, to peel away the fictions of medicalized birthing care. Their goal: to expose strong and capable women who grow and birth babies outside the regulatory and self-regulatory processes naturalized by modern, technocratic obstetrics. Homebirth practices are, thus, not simply evidence-based care strategies. They are intentionally manipulated rituals of technocratic subversion designed to reinscribe pregnant bodies and to reterritorialize childbirth spaces (home) and authorities (midwives and mothers).[homebirth; midwifery; ritual; childbirth] en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher American Anthropological Association en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Medical Anthropology Quarterly en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Vol. 25 no. 4 en_US
dc.subject homebirth en_US
dc.subject midwifery en_US
dc.subject ritual en_US
dc.subject childbirth en_US
dc.title Reinscribing the Birthing Body: Homebirth as Ritual Performance en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1111/j.1548-1387.2011.01183.x


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