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, pregnancy is never an unmarked category; in every society, it is the occasion for special attention and specialized treatment, in forms that vary widely. In Polynesia, for example, the news of a pregnancy is greeted with great joy. Pregnant women move about freely, are nurtured […]

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.