PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester
WOMAN, BODY, POLITICAL ECONOMY:
ANTHROPOLOGY OF PREGNANCY IN CHIAPAS, MEXICO
- MEXICO -
My current PhD work is influenced by my personal experience of pregnancy and motherhood in Mexico, as well as the lives of the women I have worked alongside and known during the last eight years. The overall project analyses political economy of pregnancy and birth in Chiapas from a woman centred perspective. Contextualising birth as social (re)production in a political economy indicates how pregnant women, defined and courted as a class requiring medical treatment at local levels, have significant value in the political realms of the health economy. My theoretical basis works towards analysing pregnancy and birth as a temporal life phase through which the domination of women is highlighted via the public claims on her body. The pregnant body understood as the intersection between private and public property, introduces women into the centre of an extremely complex social and medical discourse through which various forms of gendered violence are legitimated.
During 2011 I have carried out preliminary fieldwork focusing specifically on symbolic and physical violence in reproductive health practices in urban areas of Chiapas. In November 2011, I will present a paper entitled Innecesarea: the Violence of Childbirth in Chiapas at the Gendered Violence Conference in Bristol, UK. This paper is based on fieldwork carried out between 2007 -2011.
I am a lecturer in Social Work Studies, currently at the University of Salford. I have 15 years experience in social and community work in the UK and Mexico with a special interest in reproductive health and gendered violence. My experience working in urban and conflict zones of Chiapas inspired me to train as an anthropologist beginning in 2005 and I have combined the two careers both in practice and academically ever since. My work is influenced by feminist community activist traditions and participatory ethnography.