This book is a short introduction to Gabrielle Palmer's The Politics of Breastfeeding, first published in 1988, which exposed infant feeding as one of the most important global public health issues of our time.
Pandora Issues in Women's Health is a series of investigative books written by women about all aspects of our bodies and health. Each book takes into account women's lives in different countries and cultures and challenges conventional assumptions about health issues which affect us all.
This work shows that breastfeeding is much more than a matter of personal inclination. Women all over the world are still being tricked into feeding their babies artificially, and this affects everyone - people's health, the environment and the global economy.
Responding to the most widely read breastfeeding manual, La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Robyn Lee's The Ethics and Politics of Breastfeeding explores breastfeeding as an art that must be developed through skillful application of effort and distinguished from a merely natural or physiological process. The Ethics and Politics of Breastfeeding challenges the dominant understanding of breastfeeding and cultivates an alternative conception as an ethical, embodied practice of the self. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, and Luce Irigaray, Lee develops a new understanding of breastfeeding as an "art of living," where the practice is reconsidered in the light of ongoing social inequalities.
Breastfeeding is a biocultural phenomenon: not only is it a biological process, but it is also a culturally determined behavior. As such, it has important implications for understanding the past, present, and future condition of our species. In general, scholars have emphasized either the biological or the cultural aspects of breastfeeding, but not both. As biological anthropologists the editors of this volume feel that an evolutionary approach combining both aspects is essential. One of the goals of their book is to incorporate data from diverse fields to present a more holistic view of breastfeeding, through the inclusion of research from a number of different disciplines, including biological and social/cultural anthropology, nutrition, and medicine. The resulting book, presenting the complexity of the issues surrounding very basic decisions about infant nutrition, will fill a void in the existing literature on breastfeeding.
The spread of the AIDS virus has introduced a new element into the formula-versus-breastfeeding controversy. Mothers, particularly those in developing nations, have been urged to breastfeed in order to better nourish their infants and protect them from disease or contaminants in the water used to prepare formula. Now, however, mothers and healthcare workers must consider the danger of transmitting AIDS via breastfeeding. When HIV-infected women nurse their children, they significantly increase the risk of transmitting the virus. The issue is further complicated in countries where the alternatives are not very promising and in cultures that stigmatize women for even undergoing AIDS testing. This informative analysis includes the development of research into HIV and breastfeeding, the medical and political questions surrounding the controversy, and options and solutions for women to consider in feeding their infants. Fully indexed, this book is an important contribution to the social and medical studies of one of the most tragic facets of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
This book brings together international academics, policy makers and practitioners to build bridges between the real-world and scholarship on breastfeeding. It asks the question: How can the latest social science research into breastfeeding be used to improve support at both policy and practice level, in order to help women breastfeed and to breastfeed for longer? The edited collection includes discussion about the social and cultural contexts of breastfeeding and looks at how policy and practice can apply this to women’s experiences. This will be essential reading for academics, policy makers and practitioners in public health, midwifery, child health, sociology, women's studies, psychology, human geography and anthropology, who want to make a real change for mothers.