Embodying Culture: Pregnancy in Japan and Israelby Tsipy Ivry
Pub. Date: 10/15/2009
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
"With finely crafted ethnography, Tsipy Ivry engages her readers in the most intimate of experiences-pregnancy. Research in Japan and Israel reveals how medical knowledge and technologies are made use of differentially in these two locations by both physicians and women to accomplish a remarkably dissimilar embodiment of future motherhood. Ivry's position is that concern about the ramifications of technologically assisted reproduction should not usurp representations of the cultures of pregnancy." -Margaret Lock, author of Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death
"A fascinating double-ethnography of pregnancy in two cultures. This outstanding book reveals stunning cultural differences in the interpretation of the embodied experience of pregnancy. In spite of their mutual technological sophistication, Japanese and Israeli views on pregnancy could hardly be more different, nor could the biomedical advice that women in each culture receive. Ivry's work takes Brigitte Jordan's analysis of birth in four cultures to a new level, focusing specifically on the cultural influences that profoundly affect both women's and obstetricians' perceptions and management of pregnancy, and deeply demonstrating the influence of culture on biomedical 'science.'" -Robbie Davis-Floyd, author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage
With all of the burgeoning social interest in new reproductive technologies and in childbirth, why has pregnancy been forgotten? Isn't pregnancy just as culturally variant as other aspects of reproduction?
Embodying Culture looks at pregnancy as much more than just "expecting." Tsipy Ivry juxtaposes pregnancy in two non-western postindustrial democracies, one preoccupied with military conflicts and existential threats (Israel), the other horrified by the graying of society and shrinking birth rates (Japan). Through ethnographic exploration of pregnancy experiences of Japanese and Israeli women and comparative study of ob-gyns and the bioemedical cultures that medicalize pregnancy in divergent ways, Ivry illuminates pregnancy as a meaningful cultural category for social analysis: a first step toward an anthropology of pregnancy.
Tsipy Ivry is a lecturer in anthropology at the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Haifa, Israel.
A volume in the Studies in Medical Anthropology series, edited by Mac Marshall
Table of Contents
Part I. The Doctoring of Pregnancy
1 Pregnancy in the Eyes of Israeli Ob-Gyns
2 The Front and the Backstage of Japanese Prenatal Care
Part II. Experiencing Pregnancy
3 The Path of Bonding
4 The Path of Ambiguity
Part III. Embodying Culture
6 Pregnant with Meaning
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