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The Cultural Politics of Reproduction: Migration, Health and Family Making

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The Cultural Politics of Reproduction

Migration, Health and Family Making

Edited by Maya Unnithan-Kumar and Sunil K. Khanna

206 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-544-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2014)

eISBN 978-1-78238-545-5 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is a welcome addition to the literature on both migration and reproduction, bringing together in interesting ways the causes and consequences of forcible or agentive movement upon birth practices, plans, and outcomes…Overall, the chapters complement each other… providing a nice mix of ethnographic breadth and detailed analysis.”  ·  Perveez Mody, King’s College, Cambridge

“The phenomena that the volume addresses are complex, multi-faceted, timely and cutting-edge… Not only are these debates at the centre of anthropological inquiry, the strength of this volume lies precisely in its utility for both the humanities and the social sciences, while the writing is clear and appropriate for both advanced undergraduates and postgraduate students.”  ·  Anastasia Christou, Middlesex University


Charting the experiences of internally or externally migrant communities, the volume examines social transformation through the dynamic relationship between movement, reproduction, and health. The chapters examine how healthcare experiences of migrants are not only embedded in their own unique health worldviews, but also influenced by the history, policy, and politics of the wider state systems. The research among migrant communities an understanding of how ideas of reproduction and “cultures of health” travel, how healing, birth and care practices become a result of movement, and how health-related perceptions and reproductive experiences can define migrant belonging and identity.

Maya Unnithan-Kumar is Professor of Social and Medical Anthropology at the University of Sussex. Her research interests are in the anthropology of the body, childbirth and infertility, reproductive technologies, mobility, health inequalities and human rights. Her recent research was funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council focused on State and civil society understandings of reproductive rights and their application to health policy and programs in India.

Sunil K. Khanna is a Professor of International Health in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University. His recent research project addresses the new reproductive technology for the purpose of prenatal sex determination and sex selection in urbanizing north India. He is the author of Fetal/Fatal Knowledge: New Reproductive Technologies and Family-Building Strategies in India.

Subject: Medical Anthropology Refugee and Migration Studies Gender Studies and Sexuality


List of Contributors

Introduction: Migration and the Politics of Reproduction and Health: Tracking Global Flows through Ethnography
Sunil K. Khanna and Maya Unnithan-Kumar

Chapter 1. Migration, Belonging and the Body that Births: Pakistani Women in Britain
Kaveri Qureshi

Chapter 2. To Be or Not To Be?: Cape Verdean Student Mothers in Portugal
Elizabeth P. Challinor

Chapter 3. ‘Good Women Stay at Home. Bad Women Go Everywhere’: Agency, Sexuality and Self in Sri Lankan Migrant Narratives
Sajida Z. Ally

Chapter 4. ‘No That’s not a Religious Thing, That’s a Cultural Thing’: Culture in the Provision of Health Services for Bangladeshi Mothers in East London
Laura Griffith

Chapter 5. Health Inequalities and Perceptions of Place: Migrant Mothers’ Accounts of Birth and Loss in Northwest India
Maya Unnithan-Kumar

Chapter 6. Acculturation and Experiences of Postpartum Depression amongst Immigrant Mothers
Mirabelle E. Fernandes-Paul   

Chapter 7. ‘A Mother who Stays but Cannot Provide is not as Good’: Migrant Mothers in Hanoi, Vietnam
Catherine Locke, Nguyen Thi Ngan Hoa and Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam

Chapter 8. ‘A “City-Walla” Prefers a Small Family’: Son Preference and Sex Selection among Punjabi Migrant Families in Urban India
Sunil K. Khanna

Chapter 9. Restoring the Connection: Aboriginal Midwifery and Relocation for Childbirth in First Nation Communities in Canada
Rachel Olson


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