Anthropology of Breast-Feeding: Natural Law or Social Construct

Paperback | May 1, 1992

EditorVanessa A. MaherbyVanessa A A

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On the whole, the debates surrounding the issues of breast-feeding - often reflecting ethnographic and ill-informed medical and demographic approaches - have failed to treat the deeper issues. The significance of breast-feeding reaches far beyond its biological function; in fact, the authors of this volume argue, there is nothing `natural' about breast-feeding itself. On the contrary, attitudes and practices are socially determined, and breast-feeding has to be seen as an essential element in the cultural construction of sexuality.

This volume offers an `ethnography' of breast-feeding by examining cultural norms and practices in a number of European and non-European societies, thus presenting valuable and often astonishing empirical material that is not otherwise readily available. The highly original focus of this volume therefore throws new light on gender and on social relationships in general.

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On the whole, the debates surrounding the issues of breast-feeding - often reflecting ethnographic and ill-informed medical and demographic approaches - have failed to treat the deeper issues. The significance of breast-feeding reaches far beyond its biological function; in fact, the authors of this volume argue, there is nothing `natu...

Edited by Vanessa A Maher, Associate Professor in Cultural Anthropology, University of Turin, former Research Fellow, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, University of Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.38 inPublished:May 1, 1992Publisher:Bloomsbury Academic

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0854968148

ISBN - 13:9780854968145

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Editorial Reviews

?This is a fascinating, thoughtful book.? ?Nursing Times?... a very interesting and thought provoking volume which deals with practical implications of the socio-cultural aspects of breastfeeding ... an essential read for policy-makers, physicians, nurse midwives, nutritionists and other health workers who may wish to broaden their understanding of breastfeeding? ?Health Policy and Planning?a 'must' for anyone undertaking a serious study of breast feeding.? ?TAMBA, Health and Education Bulletin?...a valuable addition to the excellent "Cross-cultural Perspectives on Women" series.? ?Choice