By Cecilia Van Hollen
Even childbirth is stricken by globalization--and in India, as somewhere else, the fashion is clear of domestic births, assisted via midwives, towards health facility births with expanding reliance on new applied sciences. And but, as this paintings of serious feminist ethnography sincerely demonstrates, the worldwide unfold of biomedical versions of childbirth has now not introduced forth one monolithic kind of "modern birth." targeting the beginning reports of lower-class girls within the South Indian country of Tamil Nadu, beginning at the Threshold unearths the complicated and distinct ways that modernity emerges in neighborhood contexts. via vibrant description and lively discussion, this e-book conveys the delivery tales of the ladies of Tamil Nadu of their personal voices, emphasizing their evaluations of and aspirations for contemporary births this day. In gentle of those tales, writer Cecilia Van Hollen explores higher questions on how the constructions of colonialism and postcolonial overseas and nationwide improvement have helped to form the shape and which means of beginning for Indian girls this day. eventually, her booklet poses the query: How is gender--especially maternity--reconfigured as beginning is remodeled?
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Extra info for Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India
2,000 per day. Without a motor one could only earn up to Rs. 300 per day. The deepsea ﬁsh brought in better proﬁts, and it was only the boats with motors which could go far enough out to sea to catch such ﬁsh. The cost of buying and attaching a motor to a catamaran was, however, exorbitant, somewhere in the order of Rs. 26,000. So, despite the fact that there were government schemes and the local Fisherman’s Cooperative Society to help purchase motors, for most this remained an elusive dream. As in most parts of the world, in Tamil Nadu ﬁshing is a highly gendered occupation; only men go out to sea and women are largely responsible for selling the ﬁsh.
The other most common initial misconception about my role was the assumption that I 32 Childbirth and Modernity was a doctor, and women came to me with complaints of a variety of ailments. When it became clear that I was neither health worker nor doctor, but rather that I was a medical anthropologist who was as interested in learning about the details of religious ritual activities surrounding birth and about the use of local herbs and dietary practices as I was in learning about women’s allopathic concerns during childbirth, some women grew frustrated and felt that I was wasting their time.
They write, “While our work calls attention to the impact of global processes on everyday reproductive experiences, it does not assume that the power to deﬁne reproduction is unidirectional. 44 This perspective can help dispel the misconceptions embedded in those feminist studies that view all the controlling aspects of biomedicalized births as derived from a Western historical legacy of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution and that present a romanticized vision of holistic “indigenous” birth, or “ethno-obstetrics,” as egalitarian, “woman-centered,” and noninterventionist.