Birth as an American Rite of Passage / Edition 2

Birth as an American Rite of Passage / Edition 2

by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd
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University of California Press


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Birth as an American Rite of Passage / Edition 2

Why do so many American women allow themselves to become enmeshed in the standardized routines of technocratic childbirth--routines that can be insensitive, unnecessary, and even unhealthy? Anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd first addressed these questions in the 1992 edition. Her new preface to this 2003 edition of a book that has been read, applauded, and loved by women all over the world, makes it clear that the issues surrounding childbirth remain as controversial as ever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520229327
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/15/2004
Edition description: Second Edition, With a New Preface
Pages: 424
Sales rank: 1,045,248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robbie Davis-Floyd is Senior Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin and is coeditor of Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (California, 1997).

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Editionxi
Introduction: Birth as a Rite of Passage1
Research Methods and Theoretical Concerns2
Ritual and Rite7
1.One Year: The Stages of the Pregnancy/Childbirth Rite of Passage22
Separation: "Oh my God, I Think I'm Pregnant!"22
Transition: Pregnancy as Transformation23
Transition: Birth as Transformation38
Transition: The Immediate Postpartum Period40
Integration: "Swimming Up on the Other Side"41
2.The Technocratic Model: Past and Present44
Medicine as a Microcosm of American Society45
The Body as Machine48
The Technocratic Model of Birth51
The Role of American Obstetrics in the Resolution of Cultural Anomaly59
3.Birth Messages73
"Standard Procedures for Normal Birth"73
A Symbolic Analysis of Standard Obstetrical Procedures75
From Nature to Culture: The Obstetrical Re-Structuring of Accidental Out-of-Hospital Births150
Summary: Birth Rituals and Society152
4.Belief Systems About Birth: The Technocratic, Wholistic, and Natural Models154
The Significance of Belief154
The Wholistic Model of Birth155
The Technocratic and Wholistic Models of Birth Compared158
"Natural" Models of Birth159
The Ideology of Safety177
The Alternative Birth Center: A Middle Ground?184
5.How the Messages Are Received: The Spectrum of Response187
Full Acceptance of the Technocratic Model of Birth189
Full Acceptance of the Wholistic Model of Birth199
6.Scars into Stars: The Reinterpretation of the Childbirth Experience241
"Further Epistemic Exploration": "Teilhard de Chardin" versus "Sartre"243
7.Obstetric Training as a Rite of Passage252
Processes of Psychological Transformation: Medical School and Residency254
Alternative Transformations: The Humanistic Paradigm269
Women in Obstetrics276
Obstetrics and American Society277
8.The Computerized Birth? Some Ritual and Political Implications for the Future281
The Cultural Consensus281
Women's Rites: The Politics of Birth284
The Technocratic Model of Birth: Futuristic Extremes286
9.--Or Birth as the Biodance?292
Birth as a Means for Accomplishing a Paradigm Shift292
Wholism in Birth: Futuristic Extremes294
The Computerized Birth, and the Biodance: Envisioning the Richness of Diversity301
Appendix AInterview Questions Asked of Mothers309
Appendix BInterview Questions Asked of Obstetricians313

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Birth as an American Rite of Passage 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was blessed with being able to read this book since it was in dissertation form. During that time Robbie was 'practicing what she preached' as an educator who was instrumental in bringing family centered birthing practices to our area. She was able to respect and work with the medical doctors as well as the alternate community. In those early years I was able to hear her present at a number of conferences which educated and networked me, moving my work further. Nearly 30 years later, Robbie is a global expert in birthing fields I cannot recommend anyone more highly. Her website, davis-floyd 'dotcom' has many of her full text articles posted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This outstanding book reveals a unique perspective on the cultural and personal impact of imposing technological intervention on the most natural of human processes. Shining a critical light on modern birth presents an opportunity for women to re-think their birth choices and make more empowering choices. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for professionals who work with families, as well as parents.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was really well written and well organized, however her view is completely biased. Her whole book is about how bad the hospital is and how great home-birth is. Many points for very interesting, but when it comes down to it, it was just too biased for me.