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An Anthropology of Mothering
An Anthropology of Mothering

An Anthropology of Mothering


314 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $26.95 (US $26.95)

Publication Date: December 2011

ISBN 9780986667183

Rights: WOR X CA, UK, & EUR

Demeter Press (Dec 2011)

Price: $26.95


In anthropology, cross-cultural research is fundamental. In relation to “mothering,†cross-cultural research becomes enlightening, not only to understand the practices of so-called Others, but also to understanding ourselves. The Anthropology of Mothering has developed fairly unnoticed until the last couple of years, when an increase of research, attention, and respect has suddenly appeared. Geographically, this anthology focuses on places and populations from Canada, the United States, Central and South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The experiences and ideas represented within this volume are much more than geographically diverse, as Indigenous and immigrant, rural and urban, religious and secular populations are represented, as well as one chapter focused on primate and hominid mothering. Through the consideration of the experiences of grandmothers, au pairs, biological and adoptive mothers, mothers of soldiers, mothers of children with autism, mothers in the corrections system, among others, it becomes clear that human mothering is neither practiced nor experienced the same the world over – indeed, even a single definition of what “mothering†is cannot be formed by the contribu- tors of this anthology. Instead, while ideas of ‘good’ mothering exist in every culture, the effects of colonialism and migration, as well as different understandings of and relationships to food, religion, and government play prominent among many other factors, includ- ing age, relationship status, and sexuality of mothers themselves, to affect what is understood as ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ mothering


"This anthology is a smorgasbord of contributions from different angles with great methodological variety. It would be a very useful book for cultural anthropologists and comparative sociologists, student midwives, and any health practitioners encountering pregnant women and mothers from other ethnic backgrounds and belief systems."â€â€Sheila Kitzinger, author of The Politics of Birth

Author Biography

Michelle Walks, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, is passionate about queer issues, reproductive health, mothering, and feminist anthropology. Her work has been published in the Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering (now the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative), and Canadian Woman Studies. Naomi McPherson is an Associate Professor of Anthropol- ogy at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, in Kelow- na., BC. Naomi is an established scholar, with extensive field- work experience in New Britain (Papua New Guinea), the author of In Colonial New Guinea: Anthropological Perspec- tives, and is also the new Editor-in-Chief of Anthropologica