Midwifery Robbie Davis-Floyd and Gwynne L. Jenkins This article appears in the Sage Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Sage Publications, 2005. Attendance at birth has been suggested to be essential in facilitating mother-child survival as the physiology of birth changed during human evolutionary history. “Midwife,” an Anglo-Saxon term meaning “with woman,” aptly describes the role that women have long assumed as birth attendants. The anthropology of midwifery is the study of non-physician primary birth attendants within and across cultures. The birth attendant is not always a specialist, nor do all cultures have specifically delineated roles for birth attendants. Thus our definition of the anthropology of midwifery is expansive enough to include a wide range of biomedical and non-biomedical, formal and informal birth […]
Types of midwifery training : An anthropological overview by Robbie Davis-Floyd PhD This article appears in Pathways to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education, eds. Joel Southern, Jennifer Rosenberg, and Jan Tritten. Eugene, Oregon: Midwifery Today, 1998, pp. 119-193. Copyright is held both by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd and Midwifery Today, 1998. Either copyright holder may give full permission for this article to be reprinted or reproduced. Robbie E. Davis-Floyd hereby gives permission for this article to be copied and distributed for educational and informational purposes. Potential midwives reading this book will want help in picking their educational path. Hoping to be of assistance, I offer the following brief overview. (More thorough and detailed overviews can be found in Frye 1995: […]
Ways Of knowing : open and closed systems Robbie Davis-Floyd This article appears in Midwifery Today 69 (Spring): 9-13. Copyright is held both by Midwifery Today and by Robbie Davis-Floyd. Both give permission for the replication of this article for educational purposes. This special issue of Midwifery Today focuses on midwifery knowledge. The following articles in it will address the specifics of this body of knowledge. But first, it is important to take a broader look at the differences between open and closed knowledge systems. Why? Because any knowledge system whose adherents wish it to remain responsive to changing events in a rapidly changing world must remain open to absorbing new information and adapting itself to that new information. To […]
Some thoughts on bridging the gap between nurse – and direct-entry midwives by Robbie Davis-Floyd This article appears in Midwifery Today, March issue, 1999. The author and Midwifery Today grant permission for its replication for educational purposes. It is with dismay that I have listened, for the past five years or so, to direct-entry midwives criticizing nurse-midwives as “medwives” and “physician extenders,” and to nurse-midwives talking about professional direct-entry midwives as if they don’t know very much, and working in some states to pass exclusionary laws. Such behavior is a classic feature of oppressed groups who turn on each other instead of concentrating on fighting their oppressors. An oppressed group will tend to want to fight its battle for identity […]
The ups, downs and interlinkages of nurse- and direct-entry midwifery : status, practice, and education by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd Ph.D. This article appears in Pathways to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education, A Midwifery Today book. Eugene, Oregon: Midwifery Today, 1998, pp. 67-118. Copyright is held both by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd and Midwifery Today, 1998. Either copyright holder may give full permission for this article to be reprinted or reproduced. Robbie E. Davis-Floyd hereby gives permission for this article to be copied and distributed for educational and informational purposes.
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, the daughters of time and tradition, find themselves negotiating their identities, searching for appropriate roles, and seeking new rationales for their continued existence.
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.
Autonomy in midwifery : definition, education, regulation by Robbie Davis-Floyd This article appears in Midwifery Today 46, Spring, 1996. Both Midwifery Today and the author give permission for it to be replicated for educational purposes. One day a few years ago I stood at the edge of a corn field in central Mexico watching a farmer tilling his land. When he was ready to take a break, we sat down together in the shade of a tree and talked for a while about his past. He told me that he had trained as a schoolteacher, and had taught high school in various towns for several years. When I asked him why he switched to farming, he replied, “Porque aqui nadie […]