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Stories of Traditional and Professional Birthing in Samoa
The result of a ten-year collaboration between Australian and Samoan researchers and midwives, this book compiles the first-person stories of several generations of Samoan midwives, both those who use traditional techniques for home birth and those who use Western techniques in a hospital. The voices are vivid and varied, often displaying the Samoan gift for storytelling. The overall picture of changing birthing practices is complex and sometimes tinged with ironies. As the introduction says, "These Samoan nurses and midwives did not immediately attempt to mediate new and old ways of birthing after the colonial leadership of their profession left. They themselves became cultural agents for change as they continued the role of 'colonizing' their own birth tradition and taught the fa'atosaga [Samoan for midwife] Western techniques, at the same time trying to provide a professional midwife for all women. Paradoxically they often chose a social midwife for their own births and supported or at least condoned the social midwives close to them. . . . Kaisarina, while working as the leading professional midwife in the country, and working almost totally in hospital practice herself, simultaneously assisted her mother-in-law with her social practice of midwifery. Vipulo's story shows how a professional midwife preferred to have her mother, a social midwife, deliver her at home." A particular objective of the authors is to encourage a reconception of maternity care in countries where professional services are rare and not available to all women. The book challenges common assumptions, still held in many postcolonial countries, that a simple migration of Western-style, hospital-focused care is necessarily always an achievable or desirable goal. It also demonstrates the considerable progress that one group has made in rethinking and developing a model of maternity care that works within their society and culture. As these midwives’ stories suggest, solutions to some of the problems caused by gaps in the kinds of resources that Westerners take for granted can be found in partnerships and cultural wisdom that already exist in Samoa and, by extension, other developing countries.
Jesuit Science in Spanish South America, 1570-1810
Missionary Scientists explores the scientific activities of Jesuit missionaries in colonial Spanish America, revealing a little-known aspect of religion's role in the scholarship of the early Spanish Empire. Grounded in an examination of the writings and individuals authors who were active in South American naturalist studies, this study outlines new paths of research often neglected by current scholarship. What becomes clear throughout Missionary Scientists is that early missionaries were adept in adapting to local practices, in order to both understand the scientific foundations of these techniques and ingratiate themselves to the native communities. Spanning the disciplines of history, religion, and Latin American studies, Missionary Scientists reshapes our understanding of the importance of the Jesuit missions in establishing early scientific traditions in the New World.
HIV/AIDS and Traditional Healers
As subSaharan Africa continues to confront the runaway epidemic of HIV/AIDS, traditional healers have been tapped as collaborators in prevention and education efforts. The terms of this collaboration, however, are far from settled and continually contested. As Modernizing Medicine in Zimbabwe demonstrates, serious questions continue to linger in the medical community since the explosion of the disease nearly thirty years ago. Are healers obstacles to health development? Do their explanations for the disease disregard biomedical science? Can the worlds of traditional healing and modern medicine coexist and cooperate?
Combining anthropological, historical, and public health perspectives, Modernizing Medicine in Zimbabwe explores the intersection of African healing traditions and Western health development, emphasizing the role of this historical relationship in current debates about HIV/AIDS. Drawing on diverse sources including colonial records, missionary correspondence, international health policy reports, and interviews with traditional healers, anthropologist David S. Simmons demonstrates the remarkable adaptive qualities of these disparate communities as they try to meet the urgent needs of the people.
Reflections on an Aging Parent
Named a Best Book of 2008 by Library Journal
In a series of moving vignettes, the author begins by describing a particular representation of Water-Moon Kuan Yin, a Buddhist teacher and goddess associated with compassion, who often sits on a precarious overhang or floats on a flimsy petal. Then Kuan Yin steps out of the frame to join the author in the mundane challenges of caring for her father-transferring his health insurance, struggling with a wheelchair van, managing adult diapers, or playing in the fictions of dementia. From perplexed to poignant to funny, the vignettes record the working-class English of a fading but still wise dad, and they find other human versions of Kuan Yin in a doctor who will still make house calls or kind strangers in the street.
The book includes ten illustrations: both classical representations of Kuan Yin and also the author's own drawings, which adapt Kuan Yin in an act of practical spirituality, reading art through life and life through art. Each vignette invites the harried caregiver to take a deep breath and meditate on the trials and joys of caring for an aging parent.
Local, Translocal, and Virtual
While more than 80 percent of the world’s commercial music is controlled by four multinational firms, most music is made and enjoyed in diverse situations divorced from such corporate behemoths. These fourteen original essays examine the fascinating world of “music scenes,” those largely inconspicuous sites where clusters of musicians, producers, and fans explore their common musical tastes and distinctive lifestyle choices. Although most music scenes come and go with hardly a trace, they nevertheless give immense satisfaction to their participants, and a few—New York bop jazz, Merseybeat, Memphis rockabilly, London punk, Bronx hip-hop—achieve fame and spur musical innovations. To date, serious study of the scenes phenomenon has focused mainly on specific music scenes while paying less attention to recurrent dynamics of scene life, such as how individuals construct and negotiate scenes to the various activities. This volume remedies that neglect. The editors distinguish between three types of scenes—local, translocal, and virtual—which provide the organizing framework for the essays. Aspects of local scenes, which are confined to specific areas, are explored through essays on Chicago blues, rave, karaoke, teen pop, and salsa. The section on translocal scenes, which involve the coming together of scattered local scenes around a particular type of music and lifestyle, includes articles on Riot Grrrls, goths, art music, and anarcho-punk. Aspects of virtual scenes, in which fans communicate via the internet, are illustrated using alternative country, the Canterbury sound, post-rock, and Kate Bush fans. Also included is an essay that shows how the social conditions in places where jazz was made influenced that music’s development.
This volume, which includes essays on Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia, and literature written by African immigrants, focuses on issues of "difference" that are at the center of current debates in Spain and elsewhere--the emergence of minoritized literatures, multilingualism and identity, new relationships between culture and institutions, the negotiation of historical memories, the connections between migrations and the redefinition of nationhood, and the impact of global trends on local symbolic systems.
How Expert Rule Is Giving Way to Shared Governance -- and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same
Beneath the national radar, the relationship between citizens and government is undergoing a dramatic shift. More than ever before, citizens are educated, skeptical, and capable of bringing the decision-making process to a sudden halt. Public officials and other leaders are tired of confrontation and desperate for resources. In order to address persistent challenges like education, race relations, crime prevention, land use planning, and economic development, communities have been forced to find new ways for people and public servants to work together.
The stories of civic experiments in this book can show us the realpolitik of deliberative democracy, and illustrate how the evolution of democracy is already reshaping politics.
Is Public Assistance the Problem?
Obesity costs our society billions of dollars a year in lost productivity and medical expenses, roughly half of which the federal government pays through Medicare and Medicaid. We know obesity plagues the poor more than the non-poor and poor women more than poor men. Poor women make up the majority of adult welfare recipients—coincidence or causal connection? This book investigates the controversial claim by welfare critics that public assistance programs like Food Stamps and the National School Lunch programs contribute to obesity among the poor. The author synthesizes empirical evidence from an array of disciplines—anthropology, economics, epidemiology, medicine, nutrition science, marketing, psychology, public health, sociology, and urban planning--to test this claim and to test whether other causal processes are at work. With a lucid presentation that makes it a model for applying research to questions of social policy, the book lays out the different hypotheses and the possible causal pathways within each. The four central chapters test whether “public assistance causes obesity,” “obesity causes public assistance,” “poverty causes both public assistance and obesity,” and “Factor X causes both.” The factors in the last category that may relate to both public assistance and obesity include stress, disability, and physical abuse.
The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes
On investigative visits to nursing homes across the nation, Beth Baker has witnessed profound changes. Culture change leaders are tearing up everything -- the floor plans, the flow charts, the schedules, the lousy menus, the attitudes, the rules -- and starting from scratch. They are creating extraordinary places where people live in dignity and greet the day with contentment, assisted by employees who feel valued and appreciated. Perhaps most surprising, these homes prove that a high quality of life does not have to cost more. Some of the best homes in the nation serve primarily low-income people who are on Medicaid. In this new book, Baker tell the story of a better way to live in old age. Although each home is different, they share common values: respecting individual choices; empowering staff; fostering a strong community of elders, staff, family members, and volunteers; redesigning buildings from a hospital model to a home (where pets and children are part of everyday life); and honoring people when they die. Her visits to more than two dozen facilities include those associatd with the Eden Alternative, Green House, Kendal, and the Pioneer Network. Whether these transformational homes become the norm or the domain of a lucky few is the question that faces the next generation of elders, the baby boomers.
Peer Programs for People with Mental Illness
“Truly a remarkable book. Not only does it contain a brief history and philosophy of consumer-operated programs in the mental health field but also hands-on examples of eight case studies from across the country as well as glossaries, contact lists and directories. Embedded within these programs are essential ingredients of empowerment, choice, respect for diversity, creativity, humor, and advocacy. Such components are critical for humans to reclaim their lives after serious and persisting challenges such as mental illnesses. This book illustrates the wide variety of ways people can help themselves by helping others.” --Courtenay M. Harding, Senior Director, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University On Our Own, Together looks in depth at eight successful peer-run programs for adults with serious mental illnesses. The book grew out of a 1998 meeting that led off a nationwide study to assess not only the effectiveness of consumer-operated services programs (COSPs) but also their implications for the future of mental health care in the United States. The book clusters the COSPs into three key types: drop-in centers, which provide varied services for their members, including meals, housing assistance, and stigma-free environments; educational programs, which train mental health consumers in recovery skills for themselves and for other consumers; and services based on peer support and mentoring. Despite their differences, the book shows, the programs share many essential characteristics. Most significantly, they demonstrate the benefits of allowing mental health consumers to operate and govern their own organizations. Also important is their emphasis on equality, mutuality, empowerment, recovery, belonging, and hope in administering services. Such core values, the book suggests, distinguish peer-run programs from the professional services that have long dominated the mental health system. In contrast to the dry, clinical reports that make up much of the current literature, this book is written "from the inside out" and, for the most part, by the people who developed the programs and who live them every day. It reveals peer-run programs as valuable resources within the mental health system and, indeed, a precious necessity for many consumers.