understanding of a culture

This assignment is the literature review we did for ANP 370 Medical Anthropology course on the conflicts between early biomedicalization process in child birth and traditional way of midwifery. This assignment does not particularly focus on one specific culture or cultural practice of midwifery, instead it examines the significant role of community in various traditional midwifery practice.

The review firstly points out how the process of biomedicalization in midwifery has greatly shaped and changed some of those traditional midwifery practices like those of Caucasian Americans and Indians. Through the literature analysis of several traditional midwifery practices from different cultures, I found out that it was the idea of community that differs traditional ways of childbirth from those adopting medicalized techniques. Those traditional midwifery practice would often bond the fate of the new born with the whole community tightly together. For instance, instead of choosing urban hospitals, the children of Australian Aboriginal would be expected to be born inside their own land/community, the whole midwifery process was conducted by hands of skillful community member, while new born would later be baptized by local shamans. The review also indicates that new born of Inuit community would be assigned his/her name with the belif that he/she is a reincarnation of one of the recently deceased relatives. Another traditional practice I examine is the series of rituals performed by Hmong people, either by the parents or by local shamans, which were associated with health of the new born. From those rituals an unique understanding of souls and universe in Hmong culture is prominent, which is relevant with the tragedy of Lia depicted in The Spirit Catches You If You Fall Down as well.