The Politics of Reproduction Author(s): Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp Source: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol.

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Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1991. 20:311-43 Copyright X 1991 by Annual Reviews Inc. All rights reserved

THE POLITICSOF REPRODUCTION
Faye Ginsburg
Departmentof Anthropology, New York University, New York, New York 10003

Rayna Rapp
Departmentof Anthropology, GraduateFaculty, New School for Social Research, New York, New York 10003
KEY WORDS: reproduction,feminist anthropology, women's life-cycle, politics of reproduction

INTRODUCTION
is a slippery concept, connoting parturition,Marxist notions "Reproduction" of household sustenanceand constitutionof a laborforce, and ideologies that support the continuity of social systems (90). While we acknowledge the complexity of the term, our workingfocus is on the specific subjectof human reproduction, which encompasses events throughout the human and especially female life-cycle relatedto ideas and practices surrounding fertility, birth, and childcare, including the ways in which these figure into understandings of social and cultural renewal.' Perhaps because it was a "woman'stopic," the study of reproduction has never been by anthropologists centralto the field. While there is a traditionof scholarshipon the subject, up through the 1960s, most of the work was based on cross-culturalsurveys, focused on the beliefs, norms, and values surroundingreproductive behaviors, with all the attendantweaknesses of these approaches(74, 99) as several reviewers have pointed out (184, 212, 228).
'The 1970s proliferation of gender studies provided a matrix from which a revitalized, feminist scholarship on reproductionemerged. Since the early 1980s, activists and scholars concerned with sexuality in all its diversity have produced a rich literature, insisting on the conceptualdistinctionbetween sex and reproduction (70, 334, 353a,b). A review of this work is beyond the scope of this essay. 311

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312

GINSBURG & RAPP

has been greatly enrichedby Since the 1970s, the analysis of reproduction the encounter between second-wave feminism and anthropology, in which women's reproductiveexperienceswere analyzedas sources of power as well as subordination.The fallout from this encounter was rich and impressive: Some authorsconsideredwhether"women's secrets"might be a power base, or even a site of resistance (36, 292). Others used data from "women's medicine" (like herbal birth control, and prolonged nursing as a method of ovulation suppression)to show the effectiveness in scientific terms of such alternativesto medicalized systems (30, 31, 217, 252, 256, 283). Western medical control of women's bodies, especially during pregnancy, became a focus of both popularand scholarlyinvestigation(7, 26, 91, 261-63, 294). In the traditionof MargaretMead, some of these findings were popularizedin the hopes of reaching a broader,non-academicaudience among Americans, suggests that other attemptingto persuade them that human "hard-wiring" cultures' practices may be preferableto ours for birthand perinatalcare (88, 106, 168, 282). Such work has addedto our knowledge of both othersocieties and our own. For example, the American assumptionthat motherhoodis a biologically stable category has been challenged by historical and crosscultural analyses that reveal not only its variation, but also how women appropriatedefinitions of maternityto accomplish individual and collective covers a multitude of goals (35, 85, 194, 204). Clearly "reproduction" meanings. "Politics," too, connotes many things. Most obviously, anthropologists have claimed as a centralinsight the many ways that power is both structured and enacted in everydayactivities-notably, in relationsof kinship, marriage, and in inheritancepatterns, rituals, and exchange systems. The local social arrangementswithin which reproductive relations are embedded may be viewed as inherently political. With the growth of political-economy approaches within anthropology, attention to another level of politics was incorporatedinto investigations of reproduction.This "global lens" focuses on the intersectinginterestsof states and other powerful institutionssuch as multinationaland nationalcorporations,international development agencies, Western medicine, and religious groups as they constructthe contexts within which local reproductiverelationsare played out. For example, the effects of introducing Western medical practices worldwide are prominent in recent anthropologicalwork (158, 159). To study "honorand shame"in an Egyptian village, we need also to attend to the Norplant birth control experiments currentlytaking place at the village clinic supportedby multinationalpharmaceutical companies and the nationalgovernment(244). And global flows are multi-directional,as is clear in the circulationof both ThirdWorld babies and childcareworkersto the FirstWorld (55, 320). On a lighternote, K-Mart sells "snuglis"(cloth baby carriersstrappedto the body) whose design made

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on the one hand. 200. Additionally. parenting. . this review attends to the politics of the reproductionof the ideas. the production of the means of subsistence. and move the investigation of reproductionto the center of anthropologicalinquiry. .21 on Thu. We thus see the "politics of reproduction"as synthesizing these two perspectives-the local and the global-by examining the multiple levels on which reproductivepractices. 339. and therefore always an aspect of the distributionof power in any society (1 14-116). the productionand reproduction of immediate life . 338. nor understand policies in contemporaryrural China without factoring in the longstanding differential worth of daughtersversus sons (280). ..251. the productionof human beings themselves. and fosterage recognized reproductionas systematicallyorganized. the propagation of the species" (96:26). and methodsthathave shapedthe study of humanreproduction within anthropology. policies. social movements focusing directly on reproductiveissues like abortion rights and sterilization abuse (109. or self-help networks formed aroundpregnancyloss. on the other.as well as their applicationin the world from which anthropologicalsubjects are drawn.. . of food. Whetherwe examine the diverse effects on local communities of large-scale phenomena such as family-planningprogramswith implicit or explicit eugenic agendas (1. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . One involved a reassessment by anthropologistsof Engel's famous dictum that "Thedeterminingfactor in history is . . Such a synthesis can reframethe way anthropologistsstudy this subject. marriage. CONCEIVINGREPRODUCTION The frameworkwe are proposingdrawson a numberof intellectualtraditions. 276. 342).POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION 313 methods of childmillionairesof ex-Peace Corps volunteersselling "natural" care learned in Africa. We cannot look at fosterage and adoption in Romania without placing the Ceausescuregime's outlawingof birthcontrol and abortionat the the impact of currentone-child family center of our analyses. and politics so often depend. 304. 44. 357). Scholars and policymakers alike are increasingly aware of the multiple ways in which seemingly distant power relations shape local reproductive experiences. infertility. 302. clothing and shelter. 234). The result was a new scholarship that investigated the mutual determination of what were labeled domains of This content downloaded from 195. we increasinglyunderstand relationsto be both constituted local reproductive by and resistant to more global forms of power. and adoption(186. This literature was also indebted to the longstanding insights of social anthropologists whose studies of kinship. the impact of new reproductivetechnologies on kinship and social organizationand culturalunderstandings of parenthood(42. sensitive to changes in domestic economies.129. 322. 274). questions.

150. 145. While the terms "production/ reproduction" were criticized as potentiallyan ethnocentricimposition of the culturalcategories of capitalistsocieties onto other circumstances(377). 109. and by the mothers and grandmothersof Argentina's Plaza de Mayo. POPULATIONCONTROL:THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF STATE AND MARKET INTERESTS The conflicting demands placed on and sometimes embracedby women are always shaped by powerful actors and institutionswith vested interests. on the one hand. 123. To understandthis problem. this frameworkhas been most useful when applied in fully capitalized contexts and those in which capitalism is contesting and transformingother kinds of socioeconomic formations. 210). the value placed on children. 161.and ideologies and policies explicitly linking economic development to population control. For example.21 on Thu. and the social organizationof childcare including its commodification (10. 180. The limits to this point of view were reached as scholars became increasingly interested in the agency of women negotiating the contradictory forces within which their lives are embedded. anthropologistsused methods of both social history and Foucauldiananalysis to explore the dialectic between. in the antimilitarism of Greenhamcommon. and anti-suffragism. global markets in labor and pharmaceuticals.314 GINSBURG & RAPP productive and reproductive relations. 266). 220. This inter-disciplinary perspective has shown us how power differencesnot only repressbut also constructidentities. the restrictionsplaced upon women in many cultureshave often served as a basis on which to stake claims of women's superior political morality. and. many choice-enhancingdevelopments such as the This content downloaded from 195.251. The 20th century has witnessed significant transformationsin the apparatuses is governed. for suffragism. No discussion of contemporary state power can fail to note the intricate national and international connections among the rise of medical professions and industries. the market. 34. 56. From a liberalindividualist perspective. 199. Thus the "politics of reproduction" may open new spaces for the productionof politics (77.129. 305. Claims articulatedin the language of motherhoodhave been made on the right as well as the left. Throughout throughwhich reproduction history. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 352). 378).in the "marchof the pots and pans" against the Allende regime in Chile. and internationalmedical institutions. state power has depended directly and indirectlyon defining normativefamilies and controlling populations(79. The central insight drawn from this work is considerable:The simultaneousdemands of work and childcare deeply constrainwomen's reproductivedecisions. 139. 340. discursive strategiesof the state. 307). 101. using maternalistdiscourses (163. 102. on the other. resistances to them (209. 175. 97.

which shape regulation of and access to NRTs (339). 147. distribution. these technologies are accompanied by and enable increasingly effective methods of social surveillance and regulation of reproductive practices (79. Feminists aroundthe world have queriedthe value of the new reproductive technologies (NRTs). 272.251. 288. 309. for example. 288). 349). and the preferencefor male childrenhas linked the use of amniocentesis to female feticide (151. the fantasy of childrenas flawless commodities. the overwhelming concern with populationcontrol has led to sterilizationabuse (274). At the same time. 232. Moreover. 302. 103. and in the perinatalperiod (208. 279. 222. 152. In America. Some have arguedthatthe NRTs arethe latest and most powerful instance in which male doctors and "pharmacrats" use biotechnology to usurp female reproductivity(6. The dazzling natureof the technology should not blind us to the persistentinterests of those entrenchedin patriarchal institutionssuch as the CatholicChurchand state legal systems. prenatal ethical debatesconcerningeugenics. safe. abortion. improving women's health (48. others point out that infertile women are being used as guinea pigs for drug and technology testing (170. 369) and highlight the importanceof class. 331. 318). 221.21 on Thu. and religious differences in access to and choices surroundingtechnologies such as amniocentesis (286. the focus on technological"cures"for infertilityrenews a Western cultural emphasis on the importanceof biological parenthood. Such studies also reveal the American cultural preoccupationwith bodily perfection. and the romance of science as conquering human frailty (68. 270). 345). 351). and inexpensive forms of birthcontrol. 49).POLITICSOF REPRODUCTION 315 creation. even though such dangers may equally affect men (45. diagnosis of fetuses has raised important because diagnosis of disability is often the basis for abortion(8. But such improvementsoften have their costs. and accessibility of relatively reliable. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 203. 337) while poor fertile women are being recruitedas surrogatemothers (46. attentionto women's reproductive health has also been used to justify judgments on women's behaviorduringpregnancy. ethnic. birth. 51.129. 304). 285. Thus. 57.thus making involuntarychildlessness more problematic(103. 78) and ova sellers to "international reproductivebrothels" (58). While empirical studies on these topics arejust beginning to emerge. 144. they indicate the complex ways women who use NRTs both gain and lose control over reproduction(95. 308. But it is important to point out thatthese concernsaboutthe eugenic control of the individual and social body long precede the development of modern This content downloaded from 195. In India. 155). and even to exclude them from hazardouswork places on the basis of dangers to potential pregnancies. 316). 257. 267. 147. 225). 107. The increasedscientific knowledge and medical services surrounding reproductive biology hold out promises of enhancing child survival (256. and "curing"infertility (17).and obstetricalcare have occurred (117. 304). 197.

and capitalist interests not only enter into the creation of "imagined communities" of nation states (2) but also have an impact on reproductivepolicies and practices. Nineteenth century EuroAmerican Victorian mores at home and imperialismabroadhelped to constructand maintainracial and class categories throughthe control of reproduction(117). in turn-of-the-centuryEngland. 341). sexuality. nor are they left uncontested. abortionlaws were liberalizeda century later in part to contain the birth rates of the welfare-dependent.21 on Thu." At the same time. These same sentiments fueled the crusade to criminalize abortion in the United States (200. and gave social supportsto working-classmothersto insure that their sons would provide high-quality"cannonfodder. The legacy of these encountershas endured. 14). 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the provision of legal abortionis justified differently under diverse conditions: Communistand socialist regimes often invoke collective This content downloaded from 195. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND CONTESTEDDOMAINS The kinds of processes noted above-state-making. and medicalization-are not generatedsolely from elite centersof power. government reformers despairing over the health condition of recruitssent to the Boer War castigated. Colonial offices were obsessed with the social status of anomalousoffspring born from the unions of European officers and female colonial subjects (340. abortion. 238). and legal frameworkson which the rights and duties of people are individually or collectively based (113. For example.129. ironically. and love and fertilityritualswere subjectto controlby the Spanish "superstitious" Inquisition. colonialism. church. Social movements concerned with various aspects of women's health and reproductionhave sprungup in many contexts (26). 349). ending sterilization abuse. theological. This surveillancewas internalizedin "folk Catholic"practices in emergent mestizo communities (13. For example. In colonial settings. and enhancingthe legal rightsof mothers-such strugglestake place in diverse settings and cannot easily be equated. marriage. In 19th century Dutch and French colonies. reeducated. sexual relations between colonizer and to "empiricalrisk"and colonized put received notions of Europeansuperiority reconfigured the boundariesof racial categories. 241.racially markedpoor (272). the changing costs and benefits of introducedmarketeconomies. They are always embedded in cultural. 375). While the ends activists seek are often similar-access to birth control. Such studies show how expanding state. In colonial Mexico. infantswere redescribedas an endangered category requiringboth medical care andpublic health surveillance(65. The selective pro-natalist policies of the Nazi regime were driven by similar motives (175). reducedbirth rates among educatedmiddle-classwomen were seen as a sign of "selfishness"and the cause of the decline of the race. the situation has been even more complex.251.316 GINSBURG & RAPP reproductive technologies.

Anthropologistshave also begun to analyze self-help movements and personal narrativesas ways of coping with reproductive anomalies such as pregnancy loss.or himself.the Americanargumentthatjustifies abortionas partof a woman's rightto bodily autonomyis betterunderstoodas a culturallyspecific product of a legal system premised on individual rights (349).POLITICSOF REPRODUCTION 317 goals of populationmanagement(121. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . dependingon their circumstances (144). 186.the Sandinistacommitment to political equality for women flounderedon the issue of abortion(239). 372) as well as AIDS educationin variouscommunities in the United States (205. 288). in Buddhist and Shinto traditions. 157. 236). the outcomes are unpredictable. and experientialqualitativematerialsuch as extended life stories. Such work. 364.251. 200). 135. includingthose of the anthropologist her. This content downloaded from 195. 142. In Nicaragua. 135. 296). and hysterectomy (14. in which the investigator'sanalyses look simultaneouslyat theirown andtheir informants' constructed subjectivities. while the rights of women to bodily autonomyare not. infertility and adoption. 26. MEDICALIZATIONAND ITS DISCONTENTS This reflexive turnbuilds in parton a long-standinginsight sharedby alternative health activists (7. 290. 234. and constituencies throughwhich they are realized. groundedperspectiveto this literature by studying not just the larger political or religious systems in which reproductivepolicies are enacted. many medical anthropologists(37. In Japan. Recent studies look at local political controversies and use life histories to examine how historically situated activists on both sides of the US abortiondebate become engaged in these issues and the cultural discourses they draw on to achieve popular support (108-110. 195. By contrast. a woman who aborts entraps herself in the cycle of birth/rebirth and may participatein ceremonies memorializingthe lost fetus (52).21 on Thu. 109. where a socialist transformationwas underwritten by progressiveCatholic institutions.129. Anthropologistshave added a nuanced. social processes. 98. Abortionrights in welfare democracies in Europeare linked to broader policies of collective responsibility for the health of women and children (113). 211. pushes boundaries of ethnographic inquiry and representation(14. 142a. studyingissues and conflicts as both analystsand actorsawareof the political stakes in their interpretations and their modes of presentation(112). Researcherson these issues are often writing from engaged positions. but also the struggles. economic and family-planning rationales for abortion are wellaccepted. Still. women in China may find the one-child family policy appropriate or oppressive. 316) as well as the emancipation of women (176). Data include discourses drawn from popularculture (273). They also use their knowledge to illuminate sociocultural processes and sometimes to recommend action in contested terrainssuch as lesbian and gay family formationand child custody suits (193. 22). 358) and Africa (18. 284.

83. we discuss it in detail below. menstruating creative spirituality (38. where is of women to men. For a short period in Louisiana during the 1960s. often displaces or competes with indigenous practices and may disorganizeor extinguishlocal forms of knowledge (158. They also demonstrate the particularways racial. Workingfrom a have studiedthe sexist discourses of more global perspective. which often meant a focus on top-down population control (356). and humancosts of hegemonic medical interventions into women's reproduction. and class categories are imposed upon and construct social and individual bodies. (Because this phenomenonhas been so widely explored by anthropologists. 267). menstruation Muslim traditiondictatesthe subordination This content downloaded from 195.consideredby some to be a centralcomponentin humansocial organization(15. in the section on birth. Sometimes. Unfortunately. symbolic elaborationsof menstruation have long received scholarlyattentionin anthropology. THE FEMALE LIFE-CYCLEREVISITED:FERTILITY AND ITS CONTROL These global processes encounterlocal culturalencodings and practices surroundingfertility. local responses. the interestsof medical and local communitiescoincide. Anthropologistshave attemptedto comprehendthese practices in their own terms. in rural Turkey. for example. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 240).251. this alliance collapsed as local. for instance. the women are consideredto have Beng (Ivory Coast). 311). Such studies reveal the power an the specific subanthropologicalperspectivecan contributeto understanding jective consequences. gender. By contrast. anthropologists medical description(209).318 & RAPP GINSBURG 214. and Yurok. For example. and sociologists (299) that the provision of Western biomedical services is a double-edged sword.21 on Thu. 187). a birth control movement determinedto serve poor black women remadealliances among teachinghospitals and health activists while neutralizingthe Catholic church. as well as medical and eugenic ideologies that put forward a hegemonic and unified rationalityfor prenatalgenetic testing but muffle the aspirationsof women of diverse backgroundsfor their pregnancies and children (286. amongthe Oglala Sioux. 119.) Anthropologistshave studied the micro-politics of reproductivemedicine. the of hospital-basedbirth spreadof medical hegemony. While the benefits are undeniable. A critical (39) points out that appraisalof both early and currentwork on menstruation only recently has such research attemptedto fully contextualize menstrual ritualsinto largerculturalsystems.129. and the ways African-Americanand white women of differentclasses describetheirembodiment(206). national. 281). throughthe introduction technologies. For example. in doctorpatient interactions (64. and internationalpoliticians and agencies exploited its success for their own ends. 287).

the massive entryof cycling women into the laborforce. stigmatized issue.Toxic Shock Syndrome.251. 179). Such researchhas profoundimplicationsfor the theory and practiceof the politics of reproduction-for example. surprisinglylittle nuanced research has been conducted. And the circumstancessurrounding the diagnosis of a new pathology associated with menstruation. Notable exceptions include recent research on AustralianAboriginal "maidenhood"under changing circumstancesof settlement and in- This content downloaded from 195. menstrualtaboos and exclusions among the Navaho function as pronatalistincentives: They subtly point out and punish women who do not become pregnant(374). 106. frequent pregnancies.POLITICSOF REPRODUCTION 319 stigmatized (72). 138). by calling into question the wisdom of a contraceptivepill that mimics the Western pattern(3). where hygiene remainsa private.21 on Thu. and by reminding us that biomedical research paradigms often miss importantdata when they regard women's bodies as biological constants. ADOLESCENCEAND TEEN PREGNANCY Menstruation.perhaps because of the abiding interest in rituals and taboos associated with it. More significantly. including high-absorbancytampons. is rarely discussed by anthropologistsin relation to the phenomenon it indexes in most cultures:the beginning of female physiological maturation. Americanwomen find it difficult to escape the medical discourses of pathology and failed production that surround pre-menstrualsyndrome and menstruation(118. and the profitabledevelopment of industrialproduction of menstrual supplies. within a single culture. regularmenstruationpatterns common to women in contemporaryindustrializedsocieties are anomalous. Recent work also indicates variation. Studies demonstratingmenstrual synchrony among women living together (218) have prompted speculations on the role this might play in generatingfemale solidarityin small-scale societies (171.Despite the early.129. More sociological analyses reveal the importanceof overarching gender hierarchiesand resistances to them in interpretingmenstruation. all intersect in the developmentof a new malady (265). and prolonged lactation that suppresses menstrual cycles (3. even with the proliferation of feminist fieldworkers. can be analyzed to reveal the social structureof disease: Cultural notions of privacy and female pollution. Research attunedto biological variationhas opened up importantlines of inquiry. 207). Historical and cross-culturalevidence suggests that female life-cycles have typically been characterizedby late menarches. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . While rural Portuguese women use menstrualtaboos to their political and economic advantage(185). of women's experiences of menstruation based on different reproductiveand maritalhistories (333). famous (and now contested: 105) work of MargaretMead on adolescentgirls in Samoa (223). bioculturalwork reveals that frequent.

Young West African women find themselves caught in a squeeze play between the high value placed on early and continuing fertility and pressuresto complete secondaryeducation (18). around 17 years. the available work again points out the atypicality of the American case. class. as well as AIDS and drug epidemics. 80. and marital status (142. Anthropological community studies suggest that African-American patternsof kinshipand communityoffer supportfor young unwed mothers and their infants (9. While little attentionhas been given to the study of fathers involved in teen pregnancy. the medianage of menarchehas been much later. the discourse on teen pregnancy invites critical examination. 357.For some.8 years. cross-culturaland historical biosocial research notes as anomalous the long gap between menarche and social adulthood(often markedby marriage)that characterizes the female life-cycle in contemporary America:In the United States the medianage for the onset of menstruationis 12. and the surveillance of adolescent sexuality by the state (109.8 years while median marriageage is 20. cf 373). empirical investigations of local birth practices had precedents. 272. reducedvalue placed on fertility. Some low-income teenagersactively choose pregnancyand do not experience diminished life trajectories. 358). have severely disruptedthese supportnetworks(24). race. eugenics.129.251. and homelessness.21 on Thu. But the socioeconomic crises currentlythreateningmany low-income communities with increased unemployment. where teen fathers are often both withoutsupportstructures (92) and undersocial pressureto take responsibility for their children (344). as it intersects controversies over birth control. 358. the choice can be a positive and readily available route to adult status. A few early studies This content downloaded from 195. One explanationfor the dearthof such studies may be the preoccupationin Western industrial societies with categorizing teenage sexuality and pregnancy as a "social problem"(182). In many other societies and historicaleras. which often more closely coincided with social adulthood(181. sexual preference. 355). given the lack of viable education and job opportunities. ethnicity. Cross-culturalcomparison makes clear that this "problem"is as much a reflection of our own society's markingoff and prolongationof adolescence. and lack of cultural and social supports. In addition. At a more general level. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 338).320 GINSBURG & RAPP corporation into the welfare state (40).combined with supportiveextended families and community networks (129. As Jordan herself insisted. abortion. RE: BIRTH Brigitte Jordan's empirically based comparative study of birth in its full sociocultural context gave new legitimacy to the grounded study of human reproductionin anthropology (156). all of which are differentially mediated by considerationsof age. poverty. 346). 174. 94.

348.POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION 321 treatedthe culturalaspects of the perinatalenvironment(224. give absentmen a strong presence in women's discussions and consciousness in Egyptian villages (243). 120. for example. or multiple versus single caretakersfor newborns (173. Some studies focus directly on the power of beliefs and practices that privilege men within the "women's world"of birth:The powerful meanings men culturallyassign to semen. exerting strong pronatalist pressures. 202). 325).251. Newer studies have undertakencomparisonsof the explicitly cultural nature of Western. 211. In rural northernIndia. wives have more room and supportto practicemenstrualregulation and early abortionas methods of family planning (152). 335). 213. nonmedicalized birth practices (169. 296). 253. The limits of male dominancemay also be inscribedin communitybeliefs and practices. Critical attentionhas been paid to birth as a true rite of passage for both mother and newborn (68. A still broaderperspective is provided by biocultural and physical anthropologistsinvestigating the evolution of mother-infantbonding: These studies include discussions of whether differences among birth practices have evolutionary significance. who is in a liminal-indeed. the folk illness of bad blood (move san) and spoiled milk This content downloaded from 195. and the assumptionthat women are responsible for infertilityor bad pregnancyoutcomes. 296. Zulu. 264). birthing positions. 229. 282. 201. birth. and use of neonatal intensive care make it clear that "Westernmedicine"is not a monolithic category (125.studies thatturnedtheirgaze homeward and became increasinglypolitical over the decade of the 1980s (37. 227). including the presence or absence of birthattendants. 87. 350). the appearanceof Jordan'swork presaged a boom in studies of birthpracticescross-culturally. 156. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . medicalized births with non-Western. 283). 259. breast-feeding. Scholars have noted cross-nationalvariation among medical practices in Western countries. 165. for which the women are held responsible(21.21 on Thu. 365). On visits to their natal villages. and Mende birth practices can quickly transform a femalecentered experience into a patrilinealinterrogationof the laboring woman. Even Americanobstetricaltraininghas been analyzed as ritualinitiation(66). 89.129. home versus hospital births. Some cross-culturalsurveys were influenced by feminism (269) and aspired to popularize anthropologicalfindings concerning pregnancy and motherhoodin nonmedicalizedcontexts (168. For all these reasons. unsupervisedby husbands and in-laws. thus placing birth in its life-cycle and community contexts (41. 174. potentiallylife-threatening-position (41. 258) and others analyzed the cultural factors in family planning. 252. mothers-in-lawcarefully survey their daughters-inlaw's menstrual cycles and pregnancy regimes. Gisu. and abortion(252. 283. 202. In rural Haiti.frequentnursingand late weaning. 260). for example. Elders often ascribe infertility and pregnancyloss to disorderly social relations. Strikingly different preferences with respect to labor-relatedanesthesia.

middle-class women want to "control"their births. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 104. Much of the researchon indigenous birth attendantsoriginates in evaluations of biomedical interventions(255). anthropologists and sociologists often focus on women's individualaspirationsand experiences in giving birth (86. pitocin-inducedlabor. 311. 304.322 GINSBURG & RAPP is most likely to afflict pregnant and nursing women who are suspected victims of abuse. particularly among feminists and othersexploringalternativehealth practices. 149. and caesarean and forceps delivery are accepted by Americanswho share culturalbeliefs that birth can and should be controlledby experts and theirtechnology (57. and technological interventionsreinforce their basic world view (67-69). In their US studies. 293. 177. 324. community surveillance and interventionoccur (96). African-American midwifery. 104. 311). A recent study suggests that women's decisions about pain medication during labor are affected not primarily by their childbirth education classes. However. 190. professionalizingtendencies of clinically based birthsin theirgeographicarea(61. 363). and are not necessarily directly imposed by medical professionals upon pregnant women. a process that usually reduces the power of the local knowledge passed between generations of women. but by the experiences and stories of close kin and friends (313). 343). it was middle-class women who also initiated radical and sometimes romanticcritiques of medicalized birth(296. Such a frameworkclosely mirrorsthe Americanculturalprivileging of individual choice. Midwives may both appropriateand resist the centralizing. studies have begun to stress that social as well as individual aspirationsand experiences differ. 160. medical models closely mirrorlargerculturalassumptionsabout how natureis most appropriately controlled. For middle-class women. 215. and both may willingly accept medical interventionsas strategies enabling them to fulfill those desires (250). More recently. Attitudestowardtechnologicalinterventioninto birthvary. 148. 216). was suppressedby white public health interests in the American south (81.129. 366). 172. for example. This content downloaded from 195. BIRTH ATTENDANTS The recentrevival of interestin midwiferyin Americaand otherindustrialized societies. 363). 299. 324. Among the processes most thoroughly explored by scholars of Western societies is the removalof birthfrom home to hospital. 87. 300. Working-classwomen have a tendency to want an "easier" birth. Once they reportor are reportedto have move san. High rates of episiotomy. 271. As Americanmedical institutionsrespondedto the pressures of health advocates influenced by these feminist critiques.251. 214. 299. is reflected in currentscholarship(84. 146). new studies were attuned to the dialectical processes through which women are both subjects of and advocates for the medicalization of birth (190. 267.21 on Thu.

and state versus local systems of knowledge (59-61).251. Even in societies where biomedicine has been sparsely or unevenly disseminated. 267). indigenous midwives attend most births. THE CONSTRUCTIONOF INFANCY AND THE POLITICS OF CHILD SURVIVAL Social supportis crucial not only duringchildbirthbut also duringthe period immediately following delivery. and the like open up possibilities for control and relative safety during childbirth. of local control over normativedefinitions of birth and maternity. resisted.which is This content downloaded from 195. Additionally. of knowledge of midwifery. or transformed. clinic-based birthing undermines the symbolic power of women. this practice was implemented just as midwifery was being revived in urban centers in the "south. As Mead & Newton pointed out long ago. taking them far fromtheirArctic homelandsand kin-based systems of support and birth attendants. This form of female heroism is not available in a medical setting.e. and some have received government-providedmedical training. The Canadian government has insisted on removing pregnant Inuit women to hospitals for birth. local groups may have their own reasons for resisting even traditionalmidwiferyas a specializationwhen it runscounterto egalitarian ideologies (33). birthis the beginningof a "transitional period"of infantdependency.g. A struggle over the micropolitics of birthpracticesreveals hegemonicclaims and resistancesof Ladinos versus Indians. for hot-cold diet prescriptionsand remedies. and for beliefs that emotions and social relations influence pregnancy outcomes. medically supervised births. Spanish-speakers versus Quiche-speakers. Such studies provide windows on the instability and unevenness of hegemonic processes over time and space. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Among the Bariba of Benin.POLITICSOF REPRODUCTION 323 These studies not only delineate the micro-processes by which Western biomedical assumptions are accepted. for example. nor do birthing women in clinics have the power to control anomalousbirths throughrapid infanticide (310-312).male medical personnel versus female empirical midwives. and often of social support for new mother and child (158). Medical personnel express contempt for indigenous theories of the organs and activities of birth. who are traditionallyexpected to birth in solitude and without complaint. In ruralGuatemala. arcane technology. this revival of midwiferyhas had no impacton Arctic health care delivery (266. research often focusses on the negotiated choreographythrough which indigenous birth attendantsaccept."So far. transform. in communities where reproductive knowledge is broadly shared by all adults.21 on Thu.they also show what is at stake from the local point of view.or resist medical models. Ironically.129. but they may also occasion losses.

which are generally labeled "social problems"when they involve the poor. nursing. paid employmentoutside of theirhomes-have also made nursingon demand a more difficult task throughoutthe 20th century(242). In the West. and more "muted"in societies such as the United States where industrialschedules and ideologies of independencedictateearly bodily separation between caretaker and child (224). and the transitionto "competentmotherhood" are mainly shapedby individual action (227. and ready response to infant distress. Duringthe same period. even using models from occupational health and safety literature:Childcare is a 24-hours-a-dayhard job. Othershave probed the contemporary wisdom of the middle class-embraced by both the medical establishmentand resistantself-help groupssuch as La Leche League-which assumes that phenomenasuch as post-partum depression. 242). anthropologistshave noted powerful socioeconomic circumstances that cannot be corrected via individual action. successful nursing. Creative reframings by anthropologists attempt to demystify motherhood. 153.21 on Thu.examining it as work. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 276).and perinatalservices (24. perhaps because of culturalrestrictionson who may be presentat and directly following birth. Women accepted the advice of scientific experts. inadequate. often with few breaks. and the cultural bias toward consideringproblems and their solutions as individuallybased. industrialized schedules for infant feeding developed.and hazardousworkplaces(297. Additionally. urbanized life. The changing circumstances of mother work may be implicated in the worldwide decline of breast-feeding.251.distrust. The pressuresof urbanization-especially. 187-89. Recent social moveLa Leche League and the women's health movements like the International ment have encouraged breast-feeding. 154. Primary in a complex web of problemsis expensive. as physicians began in the late nineteenthcenturyto focus on infant feeding problems. cf 136). Some researchersuse datafrom contemporary that our species is "hardwired"for frequent.324 GINSBURG & RAPP more "developed"in societies with prolongedco-sleeping. Anthropologistshave recently begun to study medicalized pregnancy regimes and perinatalcare in the United States. lack of social support. which often undercutsuch older practices as feeding-ondemand and wet-nursing(5. and irregularuse of pre. the Euroamericanview of the infant as a passive recipient of culture ratherthan as a cognitively competent social actor may help to explain neglect of the early life-cycle (184). 275. 174. Relatively little ethnographic research has been done on this transitional period. a practice now often backed up by This content downloaded from 195. 230). to argue gatherer-hunters 282). as several studies indicate (127.129.shortbouts of nursing(126. a profitableindustry arose to producepreparedinfantfoods. even thoughthis patternis not easily accommodated sedentary. In investigating poor birthoutcomes.and sometimes patronizing health care that leads to miscommunication. to the conditionsof 219).

257). Contemporary of breast-feedinghas occurredin thata similardecline (andpartialrestoration) many ThirdWorld countries(127). 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .21 on Thu. But the high rate of SIDS among African-American motherswho do sleep with their babies is a reminderthatthe healthof infants is also profoundly shaped by socioeconomic and maternal health factors (198). Local culturaldiscoursesplay a powerful role in the mix of breast and bottle. which has swung back towarda positive evaluationof the cross-culturalstudies suggest benefits of human breast milk. anthropological studies of child survival all indicate the impact of social arrangements. among the by a numberof recentanthropological Kipsigis the amountof time culturallysanctionedfor the extremedependency This content downloaded from 195. breastfeeding remainspopularnot only because governmentpolicy supportsit." More dramaticillustrationsof the combinationof intendedand unintended ways in which culturalpracticesstronglyinfluencechild survivalareprovided studies (318). newborns. 125. In recent years. In urban Mali.OF REPRODUCTION 325 POLITICS medical discourse. Researchsuggests that the latter practice is a recent developmentby evolutionarystandards. Such work challenges the abstract. sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) seems to be rare in cultures where parentsand infantssleep togetherbut is frequentin societies such as the United States where solitary infant sleeping is valued.and is to the young infant's developing nervous system not necessarily appropriate low-income teen (219). and parentsare played out. demonstrating preemies. 191. for example.illiteracy. Whether or not they focus on high-tech interventions. it also concerns the importanceof using a renewableresourcesuch as breastmilk in economically vulnerable. and fundamentalpoverty made the use of packaged formulaslethal. but also because of indigenous beliefs that a woman who does not nurse is relinquishingkin ties to her infant (73). For example. lack of refrigeration.For example. Studies have analyzedNICUs as culturalenvironmentsin which social relations among physicians. it diverts collective attentionand resources from preventive care for far larger populationsof at-risk mothers and children. Anthropologists have pointed out that while the technology holds the promise of salvation for individual high-risk and prematureinfants. 192.251. parents.129. nurses. no matter how the species may be "hardwired.individualistmodels of medicine and that the stressful social situationsthat bring together bioethics. 256a. A recent study suggests that the controversy is not simply about the efficacy and costs of breastor bottle. interestsof Firstand ThirdWorldwomen have been linked in global boycotts of Nestles and other corporationsthat aggressively marketed infant formula in Third World countries where contaminated water supplies. developing nations (352). cannot be understoodapartfrom their multiple social interests and contexts (4. 254. and professionals. The advent of new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) technologies in industrializedsocieties has also attracteda spate of studies.

21 on Thu. acknowledging the complex interactions among cultural and physiological circumstances. For example. all of which suppress menstruation(106. migration. 76. 131). as children they may be neglected and abused. On the one hand.the latterreceive the breast more frequentlyand thus have a better survival rate (75). and the latter receive more nurture(319). RETHINKINGTHE DEMOGRAPHICTRANSITION transiIssues of child survival are centralto debates about the "demographic tion" which assumedthat traditionalpatternsof high child mortalityand high (including replacementfertility would decline in responseto "modernization" public health measuresand Westernbiomedicine). Additionally. Some researchers analyze infant caretaking in terms of adaptationand evolution. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Western development rhetoric often assumes that societies lacking contraceptivetechnology cannot consciously control reproduction. 146a. 174. Anthropologicalwork has challenged such unilinear models. 50. In the dire poverty of shanty towns in northeasternBrazil. 122. education and Christianity (137).326 GINSBURG & RAPP of infancy is being radically shortened by changes in breast and bottle feeding. whetherlow or high.129. mothers resist becoming attachedto physically fragile infantswho seem less likely to survive thantheir more robust siblings. brides they may be "accident-prone" Studies of child survival in stressful circumstancesmay be placed on a continuum with work on infanticide. where sons are favored for cultural and economic reasons. 140. female offspring are at great risk at every stage of the life-cycle: As fetuses they may be aborted. a decrease in polygyny. Anthropologists have examined infanticide as a post-gestationalform of reproductivecontrol. and famine which influence the development of cultural patterns of childbearing (132). as a mechanism of genderdetermination and birthspacing. 270). 231-233. reproductive decision-making cannot be understood apart from socioeconomic phenomena such as ecology. 174. and as an "investmentstrategy"for privileging some offspring over others (74. as well as throughoccasional reduced nutrition and vigorous physical exercise. 371). insisting on the specific rationalities of diverse cultures throughouthuman history (26. 130. Masai pastoralists respond differentiallyto placid and demandinginfants. In northern India. warfare. through prolonged nursing. among the recently sedentarized !Kung desired long intervals between births are achieved in part gatherer-hunters. and as young (167. a trend away from post-partumsexual abstinence. and the effects of the uneven spreadof Westernmedicine.251. Under drought conditions. This content downloaded from 195.Ethnographic studies demonstratethat individuals and communities consciously develop practices to achieve desired feritility. food sources. 323).

the value of child labor. generational. On the other hand. or resistance to. the Iraniangovernmenthas exportedwar widows to Syria. 133.relatively little anthropologicalresearch This content downloaded from 195. girls are left in Syria (128).The fate of offspringproducedby such unions rests on their gender. 322). gender. throughlate marriage. 278). China's one-child family policy via popular culture and practice (1). 249).POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION 327 nomadic and foragingpeoples often controlfertilityconsciously. As a dramaticrecentexample. Additionally. depending on the support systems available. the desire and the urbanpoor is a for large numbersof children among agriculturalists considered response to high infant and juvenile mortality.throughritual control of heterosexuality. global factors that appear distant from "family planning"must be taken into account. 249). expediently using the (Sunni) Islamic law of temporary marriage. internationalwarfare. and the importanceof grown children as the only "social security" aging parents have in many circumstances(248. such as changes in world agribusiness. often national. economies dependenton a highly educated work force and the entranceof women into capitalizedwage labor may diminish the value placed on having large numbers of children. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . land and labor taxes. especially when children provide primary access to resources for their mothers (133) It is only among certain class sectors in fully capitalized societies that children become "priceless"(378). 330).21 on Thu. and community interests may be divided with respect to reproductivedecisionmaking (32. Anthropologicalresearch also makes clear that within societies. Clearly. young and old (132. Euroamericanexperiments with medical technologies in Third World countries. if indirectly. Some of the most interestingrecent anthropologicalwork draws on social and oral histories as well as popularcultureto elucidate such specific local responsesto broaderdevelopmentssuch as the uneven spreadof across different classes in Sicily during the early 20th "coitus interruptus" century (321. and child spacing (277. the enduranceof high fertility even duringthe GreatIrish Famine as a response to the colonizationof Irelandin the 19th century(298). and the development of consumer demand for Western products(122. acceptbeliefs and practicessurrounding able pregnancies. 162). NETWORKS OF NURTURANCE Despite the recognitionthat broadercontexts have an impacton reproductive decision-making and child nurture. 134. boys are repatriatedby the Iranianstate.abortion. 248.251. polities (359).and through contraception.infanticide. and negotiation of.129. These include extended kin networks and the provision of services by the state for all dependents. Thus population policies and responses to them are enmeshed in the transformations and transfersof interests between local communities and larger.

and reproduction ple (362). the cultural differences in definitions of parenthood also become clear. English foster parents have This content downloaded from 195. Thus. for example. greatly extends the networks of caretakersand spreadsout the costs of childrearing peoples (19. This dearthof researchis in partan artifactof intersectingWesternassumptions. Fosterage. little attentionhas been paid to cultural attitudes toward men's fertility and nurturance. and early infancy (141). affectionate. for example. neither men nor women are "naturally" segregationis socially constructedand continuallyrenegotiated. These include Judeo-Christian procreationbeliefs (71). Ethnographicstudies in New Guinea and Australia. provide notable cases in which nurturanceand reproductionare broadly defined and a high value is placed on the roles of both men and women in "growingup" the next generation(247. in such systems. 295).251. reproduction. paternity. Such patternsare among West Africans and Caribbean pragmatic in strategically binding rural kin with their more resource-rich urbanrelatives. of children Anthropologicalstudieshave given more attentionto nurturance by nonbiological parents than to fathering. 360. regardlessof who raises them. in the proprietaryrights and obligations of fatherhoodembedded in differentkin systems. children retainthe social identity given by their birthparents. Such work has focused on male fertility as a principle(367). 360). While scholars have long been interestedin ritual or informal couvade (29. their certain domains (90). 336). suggests that physical absence of fathers during childbirth-a widespreadpractice-should be not be mistakenfor a lack of male involvement in the social relations of pregnancy.and nurturance These biases of past research undermineour confidence in generalizations about the universalityof absent fathers. One care that systematicallydemonexception is a recent study of paternal-infant relations stratesthe intimate. Such expectationsblind us to culturalmodels of different from our own (245.129. in contrastto those in the West. and constantnatureof father-infant among Aka pygmies (143). A recent cross-cultural survey. And. a deeply em(47). 361). and in the role of men in initiatingyoung boys into manhood.21 on Thu.based on cross-culturalsurveys using data collected in gender-blind or gender-biased ways (164). 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 50.328 GINSBURG & RAPP has appearedon fathering(184).or to the social practices and consequences of male caregiving to infants and children.Thus "absent fathers" comprise an importantsubject of inquiry. 376). 246. birth. as was pointed out in early feminist critiquesregardingthe "invisibility"of women in absent. when West African migrants transport these patterns to England. and the longstandbedded belief in women as uniquelynaturalnurturers ing anthropologicalview of the mother-childdyad as the essential irreducible unit of kinship (100. paternalnurtureas essential to as a cosmological princithe continuityof kin groups ( 1).

and respect and disrepect for individuals and groups are taught and learned are all at issue (53-55). 236). the stress on the importance of biological ties of parenthood. too. Even when childcare workers and employers come from similar class and cultural backgrounds.251. tensions may run high (251. for example. We are only beginning to see studies that consider such women in relation to the late in the female life-cycle. the micro-politicsof how children are raised.When Caribbean childcareworkersare employed by middleclass North Americans.POLITICSOF REPRODUCTION 329 brought court cases based on the assumptionthat their nurturanceof West African foster children legitimates adoption. Anthropologistswould do well to adopt reflexive stances concerningchildcareas a commodity:The preoccupationin anthropologywith theoriesof kinship and the searchfor the universalnuclear family may reflect a nostalgia among early anthropologists. 308). race. and childcare workers among scholars of the currentgeneration. and adoption. apprenticeships. MEANINGS OF MENOPAUSE In many of the societies that anthropologiststraditionallystudy. is well-known as a post-natal form of redistributingthe benefits and burdens of children through which the interests and claims of biological parents may be maintained in non-Western societies (43. has stigmatized adoption for both the giving and the receiving parents(237). and may account for the relative lack of attentionto fatherhood.129. gender is inculcated.fosterage. and domestic laborers-who extend the basis of childcare in capitalisteconomies (82). Wisdom drawnfrom dilemmas might such hindsightshould sensitize us to the ways contemporary also distort the questions anthropologists are prepared to ask. Studies of caregiversand their employers reveal how gender contradictionsthat originate in the domestic division of labor between mothersand fathersare exportedacross the fault lines of class. 124. masking the need for (and limiting the analysis of) the multiple non-kin caretakersnannies. adoption. Anthropologistshave "politics of reproduction" long noted that the onset of menopausemay bring freedom. for an absentfamily form (23). enhancedsexual This content downloaded from 195. a claim foreign to the West African practice of fosterage (114). A social movement for open adoption and social recognition of birth parents has recently made this a contested domain (234.fosterage. and nationality.In the contemporary United States. along with new hopes for "curing"infertility. Adoption. The Western propensityto conflate biological and social parenthoodhas isolated motherhoodas both a social practiceand a kinshipcategory.many of whom were raised by nannies. au pairs. caretakers often include grandmothers and other middle-agedor older women. Historically. Europeans and Americans also circulated children throughwet-nursing. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 326-28).21 on Thu.

27. access to property-through which women's power and experiences are constructed(20.Reflexivity has informedour argumentas well as some of the research we have reviewed. we have noted the conditions in our home societies and generationalexperiences that influence the questions about reproductionthat we pose as anthropologists. 354). 28). CONCLUSION In this essay. fertilityhistory. menopause is unmarkedeither biologically or socially (16. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and statusto women in many cultures. Menorelatively unremarkable pause can never be understood apart from other social circumstancesmarriagestatus. 183). 39.129. 178. 329.21 on Thu. 206)-is a product of the way such cultures label the event and construe women's lives (16). menstrualcycling may be relatively uncommon and its loss to the physical and social body (3. Such reflexive energy This content downloaded from 195.251. Such researchremindsus that no aspect of women's reproduction is a universal or unified experience. This new scholarship has given us richly contextualized studies of birth. and the loss of biological fertility with a reductionin status. ratherthan as ordinaryaspects of social life. but also throughwidely varying fertility experiences: In societies where high fertility and prolonged lactation are the norm. the medicalizationof reproduction emerged as a central issue for many anthropologistsdue to at least two historical circumstances. 333). Cross-culturalstudies indicate that in some cases. have new authorityover kin. and reproductivetechnologies. demonstratinghow intellectual traditions are challenged and reformulatedin light of the social conditions within which they develop.330 & RAPP GINSBURG where fertility is pleasure. The other was the profound impact on "traditional societies" of the uneven global spread of Western medicine. Such empirical work supportsthe argumentsof feminists that the ambivalent experience of menopauseby women in industrialsocieties-popularly attributed to biological atrophy in the USA. Scholars have also analyzed the discourses that construct different parts of the female life-cycle as medical problems. nor can such phenomenabe understood apart from the larger social context that frames them. infertility. is challengedby the fact that in many other societies post-menopausalwomen may adopt and foster children (62) and (166. 332). and to selfishness in Japan (196. Our own culture's conflation of biological reproductionwith mothering. midwifery. Biological processes are always mediated not only through cultural understandingsand socioeconomic conditions.One was the focus of feminist scholars and activists on women's reproductiveconstraints and possibilities as sources of both oppression and power. For example. especially daughtersand daughters-in-law 291. particularly high and access to reliable birth control is limited for much of a woman's adult life (16.

Ourperspective examines both discursive practices and biological constraints as they are shaped by political-economic history. Throughout. One importantfocus of new research is the careful study of discursive practices. expensive NRTs. discourses. The powerful tools of discourse analysis can be used to analyze "reproduction" as an aspect of other contests for hegemonic control. conflicts over Western neocolonial influences in which women's status as childbearersrepresents nationalistinterests(268). population control. We have also suggested that a focus on the intersection of gender politics and other aspects of social hierarchiesis an essential ingredientfor studying the "politics of reproduction. eugenics. such as state eugenic policies. and opposition to Western imperialismare often seriously interconnectedand muddled.two issues that have become salient in the life-cycles of the "new women" and "new men" who sometimes inhabit academic institutions.251.We have also taken the intentions. and whose lack of children is not considered tragic by powerholders. human biology. and policies.the concernsof women from communitiesat high risk for HIV whose cultural status and self-definition depends in large measure on their fertility. and texts of social movements as one kind of evidence for the importanceof human agency in the continuous remakingof reproductiveaspirations.POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION 331 could usefully be turnedtowardother problemsnot yet sufficiently visible on of the intellectual agenda of anthropologists. 347. We hope that such a frameworkwill This content downloaded from 195. 370). Recent writings on the AIDS crisis by scholars/activists make clear the political importance of serious discourse analyses (63. In a world in which contests over gender relations. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and we have reached out to neighboringfields like social history.syntheticperspectivethat at the centerof contemporary anthropological places the study of reproduction theory. empirically groundedcontributionsto make on these and other issues.practices. from access to artificial insemination to homophobia surroundingnurturanceof children. we have called on multiple methodologies and subspecialties. and demography. questions of reproductionconcerning lesbians and gay men." To review and renew scholarshipon this subject. the "politics of reproduction" cannot and should not be extracted from the examination of politics in general. This essay has aimed to establish a multilayered. particularlythe study of the impact of Western biomedical discourses at home and abroad(205).such as the internationalization adoption and childcare workers.we have recommendedthat attentionbe paid simultaneously to mutually constitutive reproductivepractices and resistances as they connect at both the local and global levels. as well as the study of menopauseand fatherhood.129. or fundamentalist attackson abortionrights as part of a campaignto evangelize the Americanstate (1 12).21 on Thu. the impact of the "crisis of infertility"on low-income and minority women who are not candidates for high-tech. Anthropologistshave important.

NY: Free Press Beyene. D. condoms. Am. R. Mothers & Medicine: A Social History of InfantFeeding. 81-100 Boddy. Aschenbrenner. pp. The body in the woman. Recent evidence from the local printmedia. 1988. 18(4):51-58 9. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 7. Nash.. The politics of children: fosterage and the social management of fertility among the Mende of SierraLeone. 1985. South Hadley: Bergin & Garvey 11. Wisconsin 6. Arms. 1987. Am. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Yvonne Groseil. 134. D. pp. national. R. 21. the story in the woman. 1975. Anspach. Issue) Fall:695-738 Bettelheim. G. We are deeply grateful to Fred Myers for generous personal and intellectualsupport.. NY: Holt Rinehart & Winston 10.. 18. we were unable to cite non-English-languagesources. Anderson. 1990. J. "We feed our father": paternal nurture among the Sabarl of Papua New Guinea. 9(2):16-20 2. RuthSchou-Leopold. Apple. and hetrosexual relations in Africa. Fine. 1990.despite much excellent work-in-progresswe were sent. witchcraft and the devil in late-colonial Mexico. Anderson. S. London: Verso 3. This content downloaded from 195. J. 24(1):24-45 4. F. In Women and Change in Latin America. Albany. C. H.. 1984. R. and provided leads and references.. Fem.251. 1989. Battaglia. S. A. Family violence and magical violence: the woman as victim in China's one-child birth policy. 14.21 on Thu. Safa. 365. Sex and sin. or unpublishedmanuscripts and dissertations. eds. Radic. Madison: Univ. The reproductive role of the human breast. Anagnost. Symbolic Wounds: Puberty Rites and the Envious Male. C. ed. 16 May 2013 07:19:49 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and internationalarenas within which anthropologistswork. Ethnol. From Menarche to Menopause: Reproductive Lives of Peasant Women in Two Cultures. Asch. 1988. Minden. We thank them. Duelli-Klein. Test-TubeWomen. 1990. 1954. 12(3):427-41 Behar. Producersand reproducers: Andean marketwomenin the economy. Vines. Shared dreams: a left perspective on disability rights and reproductive rights. P. 1984. 134. Meg McLagan. Am. 1990. 15. 16(2): 223-58 Behar. 1890-1950. because of space limitations. Bucking the agnatic system: status and strategies in rural northernSudan. Anthropol. Baab. ImmaculateDeception. J. R.. 1985. 53-69 5. J. pp. See Ref. Ethnol. and Sherrill Wilson have served as research assistants at various stages in the preparationof this essay. pp. 1983. 17. 13. Mich. 1983. A. 19. R. 10116 Boddy. Himmelweit. 1990. M. R. and the many friends and colleagues who discussed this issue. Lifelines: Black Families in Chicago. Curr.332 GINSBURG & RAPP help to set an agenda for integrativeresearchand critical policy evaluationin the rich local. S. Literature Cited 1. 14(1):34-54 Behar. B. Life and death decisions and the sociology of knowledge: the case of neonatal intensive care. Imagined Communities:Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. Many colleagues sharedtheir own scholarshipwith us. 197-224 Bledsoe. Rev. 1989. 20. 1987.129. London:Virago Bledsoe. MarleneHidalgo. B. 1975. Stud. 5364. pp. 16. Boston: Houghton Mifflin 8.andto MiraRapp-Hooper and Samantha Ginsburg-Myers for reminding us of our personal stakes in the politics of reproduction. Q. Spirits and selves in Northern Sudan: the cultural therapeu- 12. 28. R. Arditti. Women and Lang. Tomorrow's Child: Reproductive Technologiesin the 90s. regional. 1986. NY: SUNY Press Birke. See Ref. The politics of AIDS. See Ref. L. See Ref. (Spec. Rage and redemption: reading the life story of a Mexican marketing woman. Y.

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