Articles on Birth Activism

Intuition as authoritative knowledge in midwifery and home birth

Intuition as authoritative knowledge in midwifery and home birth Robbie Davis-Floyd, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin and Elizabeth Davis, Woman to Woman Clinic, Windsor, California This article appeared in The Social Production of Authoritative Knowledge in Childbirth, a special edition of the Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Robbie Davis-Floyd and Carolyn Sargent, eds. 10(2):237-269, 1996. Permission is hereby given by the authors to reproduce this article for educational purposes.

Articles on Pregnancy and Birth

Inner space and outer space as cyberspace?

Inner space and outer space as cyberspace? Technocratizing Womb and World Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association December 1994, Atlanta Draft for Oral Presentation–References Not Included. Abstract Current planning for the commercialization of outer space by a NASA/aerospace industry interface group called SATWG (Strategic Avionics Technology Working Group) is focusing on the creation of a “shared vision” that stresses increased launch vehicle capacity, with one end goal being the ready […]


On biomedicine

On biomedicine Atwood D. Gaines and Robbie Davis-Floyd This entry appears in the Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology, eds. Carol and Melvin Ember. Yale: Human Relations Area Files, 2003. The designation “Biomedicine” as the name of the professional medicine of the West emphasizes the fact that this is a preeminently biological medicine. As such, it can be distinguished from the professional medicines of other cultures and, like them, its designation can be considered a proper noun […]

Articles on Pregnancy and Birth

From technobirth to cyborg babies

From technobirth to cyborg babies Reflections on the Emergent Discourse of a Holistic Anthropologist Cyborg imagery can help express two crucial arguments…first, the production of universal, totalizing theory is a major mistake that misses most of reality, probably always, but certainly now; and second, taking responsibility for the social relations of science and technology means refusing an anti-science metaphysics, a demonology of technology, and so means embracing the skillful task of reconstructing the boundaries of […]

Articles on Pregnancy and Birth

On pregnancy

On pregnancy Robbie E. Davis-Floyd, Ph.D. and Eugenia Georges, Ph.D. This entry appears in the Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, New Haven CT: Human Relations Area Files, 1996. pp. 1014-1016 The experience of pregnancy encompasses physiological, psychological, spiritual, and socio-cultural dimensions. Because the future of any given culture depends heavily on women’s procreative abilities, these abilities carry strong social significance. Thus, every culture takes upon itself the regulation and management of women’s pregnancies. In other words, […]

Articles on Death

Dying as medical performance

Dying as medical performance : the oncologist as charon Megan Biesele and Robbie Davis-Floyd In The Performance of Healing Carol Laderman and Marina Roseman, eds. New York: Routledge, 1996:291-322. I think EVERYTHING in the universe is interconnected. And there are some interconnections we haven’t been conscious of, and they’ll come out sooner or later. Probably later, because knowing the AMA’s grip on things, it’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to take […]

Articles on Death

Windows in space and time

Windows in space and time: A personal perspective on birth and death Robbie Davis-Floyd This article appears in Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care, Vol. 30( 4):272-277, Dec. 2003. The author gives permission for its reproduction. My daughter was born through a window in my uterus, and she died through the windshield of her car. I don’t know what to make of this beginning that became an ending. There are easy parallels: cesarean birth is a […]

Articles on Midwives and Midwifery

Daughter of time: the postmodern midwife

Daughter of time: the postmodern midwife 1 For past millennia, midwives have served women in childbirth. In premodern times, midwives were usually the only birth attendants. With the Industrial Revolution and the arrival of modernism, male physicians either replaced midwives or superceded them in the modernist medical hierarchy, leaving them with plenty of women to attend but with relatively little autonomy. As the new millennium dawns on a growing worldwide biomedical hegemony over birth, midwives, […]

Articles on Pregnancy and Birth

Culture and birth

Culture and birth: the technocratic imperative This aticle was published in the International Journal of Childbirth Education, 9(2):6-7, 1994 Through the act of controlling birth, we disassociate ourselves with its raw power. Disassociation makes it easier to identify with our “civilized” nature, deny our “savage” roots and connection with indigenous cultures. Birth simultaneously encompasses the three events that civilized societies fear–birth, death, and sexuality.

Articles on Midwives and Midwifery

Designing midwives: A comparison of educational models

Designing midwives: A comparison of educational models by Cecilia Benoit, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Edwin van Teijlingen, Jane Sandall, Janneli Miller This chapter is published in Birth by Design: Pregnancy,Materity Care, and Midwifery in North America and Europe, eds. Raymond DeVries, Cecilia Benoit, Edwin van Teijlingen, and Sirpa Wrede. New York: Routledge, 2001, pp. 139-165.