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Making Bodies Kosher: The Politics of Reproduction among Haredi Jews in England

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Volume 42

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Making Bodies Kosher

The Politics of Reproduction among Haredi Jews in England

Ben Kasstan

Full Text PDF | Full Text ePUB Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from Wellcome Trust.

286 pages, 17 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-228-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2019)

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Overall, this is an accessible, interesting and fluently written book which is a useful and timely addition to the literature in this area. Making Bodies Kosher will prove a valuable resource to those engaged in medical humanities.” • Medical Humanities

“Kasstan’s objective was achieved through an innovative use of theory and a deep attention to detail and sensitivity for his interlocutors…The richness of this ethnography cannot be understated and serves as a valuable introduction for public health practitioners tasked with the challenge of addressing larger issues of health disparities that result for faith-based groups…Research has demonstrated the challenges of engaging faith-based groups with clinical trials and this work not only supports those findings, but also serves to provide valuable insight for overcoming those challenges.” • Sociology of Health & Illness

“The fields of Jewish studies, medical anthropology, and the anthropology of reproduction will benefit significantly from Making Bodies Kosher. Moreover, public health experts would do well to heed the critique Kasstan has offered in order to provide better care to minority groups around the world.” • The Polyphony

“Kasstan’s writing offers a fine weave of historical and contemporary ethnographic data and is clear and accessible. It will be a valuable teaching and learning resource.” • Medicine Anthropology Theory

“A successful juxtaposition of the history of medicine, Jewish Studies and medical anthropology, Making Bodies Kosher re-assesses sweeping categorisations of enthnoreligious minorities and their complex relationships to public health interventions and health care. This attentive and innovative work will appeal to social historians of medicine, Jewish Studies scholars and women’s and gender studies scholars. Public health and medical professionals could also utilise this work to evaluate their assumptions about health, religion and ‘non-compliance’.” • Social History of Medicine

“This is a clear and engagingly written account of the experiences of Haredi Jews in the UK…this account stands to be an important contribution to medical anthropology and anthropology of religions.“ • Sallie Han, SUNY Oneonta


For Haredi Jews, reproduction is entangled with issues of health, bodily governance and identity. This is an analysis of the ways in which Haredi Jews negotiate healthcare services using theoretical perspectives in political philosophy. It is the first archival and ethnographic study of Haredi Jews in the UK and sits at the intersection of medical anthropology, social history and Jewish studies. It will allow readers to understand how reproductive care issues affect this growing minority population.

Ben Kasstan is a social and medical anthropologist. He is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex (UK).

Subject: Medical Anthropology Jewish Studies Anthropology of Religion
Area: Northern Europe

Making Bodies Kosher by Ben Kasstan is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from Wellcome Trust.

Full Text PDF | Full Text ePUB

OA ISBN: 978-1-78920-230-4


List of Illustrations

Notes on Text and Transliteration



Chapter 1. The Pursuit of Self-protection

Chapter 2. Culture, Faith and Health


Chapter 3. Maternity Matters
Chapter 4. Immunities and Immunisations

Conclusion: Antonymic Immunities

List of Archival Materials and Oral Histories

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