Birth Messages

Robbi E. Davis-Floyd

in Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520229327
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927216 | DOI:
Birth Messages

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This chapter presents a step-by-step demonstration of how obstetrical procedures work to map the technocratic model of birth onto the woman's perceptions of her labor and birth experience. It attempts to decode the message conveyed by hospital birth rituals or the so-called standard procedures for normal birth. It contends that hospital rituals make childbirth appear to conform to the technocratic model and babies appear to have been produced by society. It also argues that the physiological process of labor itself transports the birthing woman into a naturally liminal situation that carries its own affectivity and that hospital procedures take advantage of that affectivity to transmit the core values of American society to birthing women.

Keywords: hospital birth; technocratic model; obstetrical procedures; labor; affectivity; values; American society

Chapter.  34122 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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