P080
Cross-cultural perspectives on pregnancy and childbirth: encounters with unknowns at the natal/postnatal juncture

Convenors:
Akiko Kunihiro (Waseda University)
Chair:
Lynn Barnett
Discussant:
Wakana Shiino
Location:
102a
Start time:
15 May, 2014 at 17:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

In this panel, the focus will be on encounters during pregnancy and after birth with various kinds of marginal people in order to discover their ideas and practices about childbirth.

Long abstract:

Ambivalent attitudes towards pregnant women and newborn babies have been observed differently in different cultures. While people might long for and congratulate a baby's birth, they may also consider it as a ritually polluting matter and segregate women and babies for a certain period. Such an attitude may be getting less according to the medicalization of childbirth, yet it may still be regarded with ambivalence even in modern contexts. Rather than focusing on the event of childbirth in this panel, the focus will be on encounters during pregnancy and after birth with various kinds of marginal people in order to discover their ideas and practices about childbirth. Childbirth is the time when parents welcome a baby, an unknown human being. Moreover, there are encounters with several others: practitioners such as local health care providers, midwives, door - to - door entertainers (e.g. hijras in India), land sales persons and so on, who might not be so welcoming. We invite cross - cultural ethnographic papers on any kinds of encounters at the time of childbirth.