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Pregnancy in Practice

Expectation and Experience in the Contemporary US

Sallie Han

206 pages, 6 illus., bilbiog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-987-9 $120.00/£75.00 Hb Published (July 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78238-792-3 $25.00/£15.50 Pb Not Yet Published (July 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-988-6 eBook

Hb Pb

This book will be central to further discussions in the field of reproduction and birth. It is of interest to students and scholars more broadly in economic and medical Anthropology and in the sociology of the family.”  ·  Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

The author takes an insightful look at an understudied phenomenon: that of ordinary pregnancy. She rightly notes that much scholarship has documented birth and the medicalization of pregnancy. Not enough attention has been paid to the mundane aspects of pregnancy. While an analysis of the quotidian might seem boring, it is when scholars problematize the everyday (the things we take for granted) that new insights are revealed.”  ·  Miranda Waggoner, Princeton University

Babies are not simply born—they are made through cultural and social practices. Based on rich empirical work, this book examines the everyday experiences that mark pregnancy in the US today, such as reading pregnancy advice books, showing ultrasound “baby pictures” to friends and co-workers, and decorating the nursery in anticipation of the new arrival. These ordinary practices of pregnancy, the author argues, are significant and revealing creative activities that produce babies. They are the activities through which babies are made important and meaningful in the lives of the women and men awaiting the child’s birth. This book brings into focus a topic that has been overlooked in the scholarship on reproduction and will be of interest to professionals and expectant parents alike.

Sallie Han is Associate Professor of Anthropology at SUNY College at Oneonta.

Related Link: Dr. Sallie Han discusses her work on Academic Minute, January 2014. Link to article | Link to audio file

Series: Volume 25, Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality

LC: RG940 .H364 2013

BL: YC.2013.a.15398

BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; SOC026010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Sociology/Marriage & Family; HEA041000 HEALTH & FITNESS/Pregnancy & Childbirth

BIC: VFXB Pregnancy, birth & baby care; JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography


List of Figures

Chapter 1. Introduction: Ordinary Pregnancy
Chapter 2. Pregnancy as a Literacy Event
Chapter 3. Protoconversations of the Heart: Belly Talk
Chapter 4. Seeing Like a Family, Looking Like a Baby: Fetal Ultrasound Imaging
Chapter 5. “This Body Is No Longer My Own”
Chapter 6. Making Rooms for Babies: Houses and Nurseries
Chapter 7. Consumption and Communitas: Baby Showers



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