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Birth as an American Rite of Passage$
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Robbie Davis-Floyd

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520229327

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520229327.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Birth Messages

Birth Messages

(p.73) Chapter 3 Birth Messages
Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Robbi E. Davis-Floyd

University of California Press

This chapter presents a step-by-step demonstration of how obstetrical procedures work to map the technocratic model of birth onto the woman's perceptions of her labor and birth experience. It attempts to decode the message conveyed by hospital birth rituals or the so-called standard procedures for normal birth. It contends that hospital rituals make childbirth appear to conform to the technocratic model and babies appear to have been produced by society. It also argues that the physiological process of labor itself transports the birthing woman into a naturally liminal situation that carries its own affectivity and that hospital procedures take advantage of that affectivity to transmit the core values of American society to birthing women.

Keywords:   hospital birth, technocratic model, obstetrical procedures, labor, affectivity, values, American society

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