Women's health in the Middle East is powerfully shaped by political imperatives and dominant ideologies of health. Here, Irene Maffi delineates the influence of colonialism, nation building in postcolonial states, and international development agencies. She examines the social, cultural and political institutions that manage childbirth in Jordan today, through interviews with key figures-midwives, physicians, pregnant women and mothers-and an exploration of the main institutional settings, from clinics to hospitals, doctor's offices, NGOs and government departments. With a thorough analysis of birth practices, the history of health governance under the colonial state and missionaries, and the institutionalization of health practice and practitioners in independent Jordan, this book will be indispensable for all those concerned with women, health, development, and the state in the Middle East.
Irene Maffi is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research interests include cultural heritage practices, postcolonial nation building, and the anthropology of fertility and birth in the Middle East. She is the author of Pratiques du patrimoine et politiques de la memoire en Jordanie: entre recit dynastique et narrations communautaires(2004), and co-editor (with Rami Daher) of Politics and Practices of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East: Repositioning the Material Past in the Present (I.B.Tauris, forthcoming).