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Bodies of Knowledge The Medicalization of Reproduction in Greece Eugenia Georges Eugenia Georges, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University, is the author of The Making of a Transnational Community: Migration, Development, and Cultural Change in the Dominican Republic. Focusing on Rhodes, an island that blends continuity with the past and rapid social change in often unexpected ways, the author paints a detailed portrait of how a longstanding system of “local” gynecological and obstetrical knowledge under the control of women was rapidly displaced in the period following World War II, and how the technologically intensive biomedical model that took its place in turn assumed its own distinctive signature. Bodies of Knowledge is a vivid ethnographic study of how a presumably globalizing and homogenizing process like medicalization can be reshaped as women and medical experts alike selectively accept or reject new practices and technologies. Georges found, for example, that women in Rhodes have enthusiastically embraced some new technologies, like fetal imaging during pregnancy, but rejected others, like medical contraception. They are also avid consumers of popular childbirth manuals. This book is the recipient of the 2006 Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize for the best project in the area of medicine. women’s health • anthropology • globalization A rich ethnography of traditional midwifery and medicalized reproduction as globalization touches an island Ë|xHSKIMGy515995z Bodies of Knowledge The Medicalization of Reproduction in Greece Georges VANDERBILT “This book, written brilliantly and engagingly, is destined to become one of the primary works in the anthropology of reproduction. It is all about cultural uniqueness in the face of globalization, how Greeks so value modernity that they have given up a lot that was Greek in obtaining it, yet the way they ‘do’ modernity is nevertheless uniquely Greek.” —Robbie Davis-Floyd Author photo by Tommy LaVergne Cover art © Evmorphia Stratis Design by Dariel Mayer ISBN 978-0-8265-1599-5 Vanderbilt University Press Nashville, Tennessee 37235 www.VanderbiltUniversityPress.com Bodies of Knowledge Bodies of Knowledge The Medicalization of Reproduction in Greece Eugenia Georges Vanderbilt University Press Nashville © 2008 by Vanderbilt University Press Nashville, Tennessee 37235 All rights reserved 12 11 10 09 08 1 2 3 4 5 This book is the recipient of the 2006 Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize from Vanderbilt University Press for the best project in the area of medicine. Printed on acid-free paper made from 30% post-consumer recycled paper. Manufactured in the United States of America. Designed by Dariel Mayer Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Georges, Eugenia. Bodies of knowledge : the medicalization of reproduction in Greece / Eugenia Georges. p. ; cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8265-1598-8 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 978-0-8265-1599-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Human reproduction—Greece—Rhodes (Island)—History— 20th century. 2. Childbirth—Greece—Rhodes (Island)—History— 20th century. 3. Birth control—Greece—Rhodes (Island)—History— 20th century. 4. Women—Health and hygiene—Greece—Rhodes (Island)—History—20th century. 5. Ethnology—Greece—Rhodes (Island)—History—20th century. I. Title. [DNLM: 1. Reproductive Behavior—history—Greece. 2. Anthropology, Cultural—methods—Greece. 3. Family Planning Policy—history—Greece. 4. History, 20th Century—Greece. 5. Social Conditions—Greece. 6. Women’s Health—history—Greece. HQ 766 G8 G351b 2008] QP251.G357 2008 612.609495—dc22 2008028081 For my mother, Nafsica, and my daughter, Christa ...


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Subject Headings

  • Human reproduction -- Greece -- Rhodes (Island) -- History -- 20th century.
  • Childbirth -- Greece -- Rhodes (Island) -- History -- 20th century.
  • Birth control -- Greece -- Rhodes (Island) -- History -- 20th century.
  • Women -- Health and hygiene -- Greece -- Rhodes (Island) -- History -- 20th century.
  • Ethnology -- Greece -- Rhodes (Island) -- History -- 20th century.
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