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.
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 […]
Anthropology and birth activism : what do we know? Robbie Davis-Floyd This article appears in the Anthropology News 46(5):37-38. A few days ago, I attended a dinner for birth activists in Seattle. The 14 women (and one man) gathered there held our glasses aloft as a doula (a woman trained to provide support to the laboring mother) made the last toast—“for all the women who don’t know.” My reactions trembled on the existential brink. As both an anthropologist and a birth activist, I am trained to honor and respect women’s choices and the knowledge systems on which they base those choices, but also to deeply question the cultural conditioning underlying all “choice.” And in both roles, I heard just as […]
Davis-Floyd 2000 afterword, technologies of the exterior, technologies of the interior, can we expand the discourse of reproductive studies In their introduction to this book, the editors note that the new reproductive technologies (NRTs) “raise” conflicts about how technology might be used in relation to human birth; yet often , what gets reported and thus communicated to society at large is a mix of technological determinism and wonder, with very little critical perspective. They chapters in this book do an excellent job of providing that perspective. They call into question the dilennas and paradoxes presented by the NRTs but so often skimmed over in both technoscientific and popular discourse. They also highlight the gender biases and pitfalls that pervade the […]