[ PUBLICATION ] A Tale of Three Midwives: Inconsistent Policies and the Marginalization of Midwifery in Mexico

Un article co-écrit avec Lydia Zacher Dixon et Veronica Miranda, disponible sur le site du Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.


This article uses collective ethnographic research to provide a multifaceted and multisited understanding of how current issues facing midwifery and women’s health in Mexico reflect a historically fraught relationship between marginalized populations and the state. We argue that midwives have been hindered in their ability to systematically improve maternal health care as a result of their uneven and changeable relationship with the Mexican state. We present case studies of three Mexican midwives who have different backgrounds, access to training and certification, and relationships with the local health systems that structure how they interpret and negotiate their relationships with state institutions and policies. As we examine these negotiations, we do not lose sight of the ways that midwives’ opportunities, experiences, and challenges are often interwoven with those of the women they serve. Both exist at the margins of the Mexican state—a space where dreams of modernity and legacies of inequality collide. [gender, health, Mexico, midwifery, social anthropology]


Este artículo utiliza la investigación etnográfica colectiva para proporcionar una comprensión multifacética y multilocal de cómo los problemas actuales que enfrentan la partería y la salud de las mujeres en México reflejan una relación históricamente tensa entre las poblaciones marginadas y el Estado. Sostenemos que las parteras han sido obstaculizadas en su capacidad de mejorar sistemáticamente la salud materna como resultado de su relación desigual y cambiante con el estado Mexicano. Presentamos estudios de casos de tres parteras Mexicanas con diferentes antecedentes, acceso a capacitación y certificación, y relaciones con los sistemas de salud locales que estructuran cómo interpretan y negocian sus relaciones con las instituciones y políticas estatales. A medida que examinamos estas negociaciones, no perdemos de vista las formas en que las oportunidades, experiencias y desafíos de las parteras se entrelazan con las de las mujeres a las que sirven. Ambos existen en los márgenes del estado Mexicano, un espacio donde chocan sueños de modernidad y legados de desigualdad. [antropología social, género, partería, México, salud]

[ PUBLICATION ] Politiques de santé materno-infantile au Brésil et au Mexique

avec Alfonsina Faya Robles, Cahiers des Amériques Latines 88-89, 2018, pp.61-78.

Au Mexique et au Brésil, les femmes pauvres sont la cible privilégiée de politiques de santé materno-infantiles. Dans le premier contexte, elles bénéficient d’une aide financière en échange de leur participation à des ateliers de santé et à des visites médicales. Dans le second, elles sont inscrites dans des programmes de santé pendant leur grossesse, accouchement et post-partum. L’analyse croisée des données d’enquêtes menées auprès de femmes de quartiers populaires, de sages-femmes traditionnelles, d’agent.e.s communautaires de santé et de personnel médical met en avant deux processus connexes de régulation des choix reproductifs : la médicalisation de la santé reproductive et la sanitarisation des corps féminins. Nous montrons comment le développement de l’assistance médicale et sanitaire dans ces deux pays, au-delà des changements positifs, soumet les décisions reproductives au contrôle d’agents étatiques de santé, renforçant les mécanismes de régulation et de domination des (corps des) femmes pauvres.

La suite sur https://journals.openedition.org/cal/8837

[ PUBLICATION ] Socio-Cultural Approaches to the Anthropology of Reproduction

An edited bibliography curated by Elise Andaya and Mounia El Kotni, available at http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/abstract/document/obo-9780199766567/obo-9780199766567-0197.xml


Attention to reproduction within anthropology emerged in early cross-cultural studies, largely descriptive and ethnomedical in nature, that examined reproduction in the context of cultural and religious beliefs around conception, childbirth and postpartum taboos, and knowledge about fertility regulation. However, the topic was given a new theoretical framing and disciplinary significance beginning in the 1980s when feminist scholars built on prior work on gender and kinship to articulate a new field of analysis that firmly situated reproduction at the nexus of power and politics. As Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp argued in their article, “The Politics of Reproduction” (Ginsburg and Rapp 1991, cited under Early Conceptual Frameworks and Edited Volumes) that demarcated this new field that they called the “politics of reproduction,” biological and social reproduction are inextricably intertwined.

[ PUBLICATION ] Structural Violence: An Important Factor of Maternal Mortality Among Indigenous Women in Chiapas, Mexico

[Book Chapter published in Schwartz, David (ed) 2018 Maternal Health, Pregnancy-Related Morbidity and Death Among Indigenous Women of Mexico & Central America: An Anthropological, Epidemiological and Biomedical Approach, Springer, pp.147-167]

Abstract  In Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, indigenous Mayan women are twice more likely to die in childbirth than are non-indigenous women. To comply with international development goals and diminish Chiapas’ high maternal mortality rates, indigenous midwives are trained in detecting risk factors in pregnancy and birth, while women are encouraged to give birth in hospitals. This chapter analyzes the consequences of such policies, which might unintentionally exacerbate the structural violence indigenous women face in their lives. In Chiapas, 74.7 percent of the population lives in poverty and extreme poverty, compared to the national 43 percent rate. This extreme poverty, together with the lack of infrastructure and engrained racism, are all factors reproducing violence in the lives of poor women. In the state, the maternal mortality rate of women in reproductive age group has increased between 2010 and 2013, and that of indigenous women has almost doubled (1.7 times) over the same time period. Using an anthropological approach, this chapter examines the institutional and cultural changes in childbirth practices that are occurring in Highlands Chiapas, and sheds a light on the structural factors that expose Mayan women to unsafe births, increasing the likelihood that they will suffer mistreatment in childbirth.