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Decorating Mothers, Defining Maternity

The Invention of the French Family Medal and the Rise of Profamily Ideology in 1920s France

Hannah M. Stamler

In May 1920, Jules-Louis Breton, French Minister of Hygiene, Social Assistance, and Welfare, wrote a report in favor of creating a state maternity medal. Faced with a declining national birth rate, Breton argued that it was imperative for the

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The Death of Maternity?

Simone de Beauvoir's A Very Easy Death

Christie McDonald

Contrasting the view of motherhood in Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex with the description of her mother's illness and death in A Very Easy Death, this essay examines the revelation of feelings previously unexplored in the relationship to her mother. Faced with a life-shattering experience, Beauvoir revisits issues not only about motherhood and maternity from her philosophical and sociological study, but her own feelings about her mother and disturbing ways in which doctors and families withheld knowledge from the dying in the mid-twentieth century.

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Emily Ridge

This article probes the complex relationship between mobility and maternity in the works of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century writers, including Mona Caird, Grant Allen, Elizabeth Von Arnim, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, among others. The maternal role came under intense scrutiny from the fin de siècle and the freedom of the mother was a source of contention at a time when women were embracing new opportunities for adventurous travel more broadly. Where did parental expectation or responsibility enter into the women and travel picture? This article explores various attempts to conceive of a free motherhood during the period and to conceive of the womb as something dynamic and empowering rather than burdensome. Finally, honing in on bag-womb analogies, it asks what it meant for a woman to "carry," both materially and metaphorically, in the context of turn-of-the-century debates surrounding female mobility and motherhood.

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Jonathan G. Katz

In a tribute to the “Jewish” Marrakesh of days gone by, the memoirist Joseph Dadia notes that he and his six siblings were all born at what his mother called Dar Madame Logé. 1 This would have been the maternity hospital in Marrakesh established

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Place of Birth and Concepts of Wellbeing

An Analysis from Two Ethnographic Studies of Midwifery Units in England

Christine McCourt, Juliet Rayment, Susanna Rance, and Jane Sandall

care provision, with midwives being the primary providers of care, working in collaboration with general practitioners (family doctors) and with obstetricians. Although the number of maternity hospital beds increased steadily in the twentieth century

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Managing paper trails after Windrush

Migration, documents and bureaucracy

Anna Tuckett

Stories of those who were victims of the Windrush scandal are characterised by tales of long-lost documents and urgent quests to procure paperwork – maternity certificates, payslips, dental records, school reports – that would attest to a lifetime

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Oana Bălută

Ramona Păunescu, Evoluţii politice ale maternităţii: Perspective Feministe (Political evolutions of maternity: Feminist perspectives), Iaşi: Polirom Publishing House, 2012, 252 pp., RON24.95 (pb), ISBN 978-973-46-2448-5.

Bianca Burţa-Cernat, Fotografi e de grup cu scriitoare uitate (Group photography with forgotten women writers), Bucharest: Cartea Românească Publishing House, 2011, 237 pp., RON34.95 (pb), ISBN 978-973-23-2946-7.

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Mackenzie Belt and Adam Drazin

Au Pair. Zuzana Búriková and Daniel Miller, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010, ISBN: 0-7456-5011-1. 240pp. Hb: £50, Pb: £15.99.

Domestic Goddesses: Maternity, Globalization and Middle-class Identity in Contemporary India. Henrike Donner, London: Ashgate, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-7546-4942-7. 230pp. Hb £55.

The Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization. Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, New York: New York University Press, 2008, ISBN: 0-8147-6734-6. 224pp. Pb $22.

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Dora Verus Dora

Exploding the Myth in Wise Children

Judy Hayden

'A woman attends a funeral. The coffin is lowered into the grave. A man approaches her and says, "He was not your father."' Thus begins a book, On Birth and Madness, by Eric Rhode, an opening reproduced in a review by Angela Carter. In this 'wayward and infuriating book', Carter observes, Rhode is remarkably absorbed by paternity, by Oedipus, by Hamlet and by Freud's LIttle Hans – in a book which ostensibly addresses maternity. Whose child we are, our paternity, Carter counters, is a 'profoundly absurd question' ('Rhode', 202–03).

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Conflicting Notions of Continuity and Belonging

Assisted Reproduction, Law, and Practices in Norway

Marit Melhuus

This article explores the interface between law, technology, and practices. More specifically, it addresses how biotechnologies—in particular, reproductive technologies—move people in different ways. Taking as its point of departure certain restrictions in the Norwegian biotechnology law, it explores changes in procreative practices and their implications for understandings of notions of belonging. This is tied to a gradual shift in meaning of the concepts of paternity and maternity, which in turn has ramifications for kinship and hence fundamental ideas of relatedness. Two premises underpin the arguments: first, that law is a cultural artifact productive of meaning, and, second, that as a social phenomenon, biotechnologies bring to the fore fundamental moral dilemmas.