Breastfeeding and child feeding at the center of nurturing practices, yet the work of nurture has escaped the scrutiny of medical and social scientists. Anthropology offers a powerful biocultural approach that examines how custom and culture interact to support nurturing practices. Our framework shows how the unique constitutions of mothers and infants regulate each other. The Dance of Nurture integrates ethnography, biology and the political economy of infant feeding into a holistic framework guided by the metaphor of dance. It includes a critique of efforts to improve infant feeding practices globally by UN agencies and advocacy groups concerned with solving global nutrition and health problems.
About the Author
Richard A. O’Connor is a graduate of William&Mary and received his PhD from Cornell. He spent nearly three decades studying Southeast Asia until his daughter’s anorexia abruptly changed his career. Since her recovery in 1999, he has devoted his work in scholarship to studying eating disorders and breastfeeding as a medical anthropologist.
Penny Van Esterik is a Canadian anthropologist who has trained at University of Toronto and received her PhD from University of Illinois. She has taught nutritional and feminist anthropology at York University, Toronto and has a long history of advocacy work on breastfeeding and child health. Her geographical focus is Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Lao PDR.
Table of Contents
PART I: CHALLENGES
Chapter 1. Recovering Nurture
Chapter 2. Studying Nurture
PART II: CONTEXTS
Chapter 3. Tracing the Human Story
Chapter 4. Entering the Commensal Circle
PART III: DIVERSITIES
Chapter 5. Customizing Nurture in Southeast Asia
Chapter 6. Modernizing Nurture: A Global Shift
PART IV: INTERVENTIONS
Chapter 7. Mastering Nurture: Lessons Unlearned
Chapter 8. Negotiating Nurture: Yesterday’s Lesson, Tomorrow’s Hope