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Family Secrets: Risking Reproduction in Central Mozambique Paperback – November 15, 2010
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"This magical book takes us deep inside the secrets held by the mothers of Mozambique, revealing their darkest fears about pregnancy and birth. These fears, as Chapman tellingly shows, involve their relationships with other women, their profound concerns about the perceived physical effects of gossip, and their highly troubled and problematic relationships with biomedicine and with their own indigenous healing systems. Based on outstanding ethnography, Chapman’s work takes the outsider inside, giving her readers both insight into these women’s lives and relationships, and a deep structural understanding of the cultural and global factors that influence their most intimate reproductive experiences. A must-read for anyone interested in how the politics of reproduction affect the women who reproduce!"
—Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage and co-editor of Birth Models That Work
"Why are pregnant women facing the most desperate medical risks among the most erratic users of health services in Africa? Focusing on pregnant women's widely misunderstood efforts to sidestep biomedical health care, Rachel Chapman's evocative account of the aftershocks of Mozambique's brutal war lays bare the material and spiritual threats that continue to reverberate through this post-war African country. In this world, she shows, the fact that ties of mutual dependence offer individuals the greatest security also implies that one individual's successful escape from poverty can deepen the poverty of others. Focusing on childbearing, a woman's greatest hope for future security but also her most vulnerable moment, Chapman's compelling ethnography points to a bitter irony: the closer one's ties of mutual support, the greater their potential for destruction."
—Caroline Bledsoe, Northwestern University
"Informed by radical hope and an impressive array of experiential narratives and facts, Rachel Chapman shows us what it means to become and to be pregnant in '90s and '00s Mozambique: the macro-, the meso- and the micro forces underlying it. Her heartrending and meticulous accounts of the choices women make in exceedingly difficult circumstances carries consequences for medical anthropology, governments, and NGOs in the field of maternal health."
—Gloria Wekker, University of Utrecht
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