This book was a good exploratory study of how gender ideology is reinforced and challenged through the experiences of prenatal testing, particularly sThis book was a good exploratory study of how gender ideology is reinforced and challenged through the experiences of prenatal testing, particularly screening for blood disorders. It demonstrates how conceptions of paternity and fatherhood can incorporate a more nurturing role rather than traditional paternal roles that focus primarily on financial support and authority. However, this conception of fatherhood is limited during pregnancy by both the biological reality of pregnancy occurring in women's bodies and institutional practices that limit men's involvement in pregnancy and prenatal treatment (e.g. limited work leave for men to attend prenatal care appointments with their partners, minimal information from medical practitioners specifically for fathers-to-be).
Dr. Reed highlights how traditional gender ideology can be reinforced by the experience of prenatal screening through an association of male genes with "good" or positive genes and through the continued association of women as the nurturers and incubators of developing fetuses. This is particularly interesting in genetic screening given the equal genetic contribution to the developing fetus. Identifying how the conception of fatherhood as nurturing can be reconciled with the biological realities of pregnancy is an ongoing theme in this study. Additionally, reconciling men's desire to be partners and companions to their significant others with the imperative of women's bodily autonomy (reinforced by medical practices as well) is a prominent area of tension throughout the study.
There are certainly interesting conclusions and information from this book. However, the quality of research is questionable, resulting in my two star review (2 stars meaning it was okay). The conclusions of the study are based on interviews with 22 pregnant women and 16 of their male partners in the UK, recruited through the National Health Service (NHS). There are certainly themes in the responses, but the small sample size severely inhibits any generalizability - when discussing some topics such as ethnicity, class, and "risky" diagnoses, some conclusions rely on only one or two respondents. The author appropriately inserts many caveats regarding this small sample size.
The small number of respondents would not be as much of an issue if there was another source of data, such as participant observation in clinics. This additional information would identify how these patterns of gender ideology are reinforced or contradicted by medical practices and policies, allowing for greater generalizability. As it is, it is unclear that the conclusions of this study are meaningful for anyone besides the respondents.
This is certainly an interesting book for hypothesis generating - it does demonstrate a few arenas in which it is difficult to reconcile the "new fatherhood" with the biological reality of pregnancy. This is an ongoing question in gender studies and reproductive studies - what is the role of men in prenatal care, particularly in genetic contributions where (presumably) contribution from men and women are equal.
Intended audience is certainly only other academics/scientists/medical practitioners who are interested in prenatal care and gender. ...more
This is a book for anyone interested in how our world works today. Nordstrom's accessible and captivating writing keeps you hooked as you watch an entThis is a book for anyone interested in how our world works today. Nordstrom's accessible and captivating writing keeps you hooked as you watch an entire hidden world of il/legal activities spin out from the local, individual level to the global, corporate and state-level. If you thought our biggest threats to national security and economic stability were people smuggling drugs or weapons on their person across borders, this book demonstrates those methods are pennies in a multi-billion dollar bucket of less-than-legal trade.
It's hard to not sound like a conspiracy theorist when describing the findings of this book. There's an entire normal, formal, massive global economy of less-than-legal activity, frequently with fairly mundane objects (clothes, pharmaceuticals, food, toys, electronics, etc.) that occurs without any awareness from most people. Corporations and governments work together to achieve common, shady goals like manipulating aid and loans to countries. It all sounds insane, save for the copious direct, insightful quotes from people involved in every step of the process. From the war orphan selling loose cigarettes in Angola to truckers to politicians to customs officials to police to longshoremen - the list goes on - it is immediately clear that this world is typical, obvious, and visible (if frequently frustrating to those charged with preventing it).
It's a short book and compelling enough for non-academics. If you want to better understand the world you live in, it's worth a read....more
This is a fantastic compilation of mini-ethnographies from anthropologists and non-anthropologists alike across the world on the topic of mental healtThis is a fantastic compilation of mini-ethnographies from anthropologists and non-anthropologists alike across the world on the topic of mental health and mental health treatment. It covers methods of understanding mental health across cultures, the social and structural contextual origins of mental distress, and various diagnosis and treatment methods, including some incredibly innovative and effective alternative methods to our current Western mental health care system. It frames all of this in the importance of anthropology, particularly the method of ethnography, in developing more efficient methods of improving mental health across many populations and contexts.
While overall this is a fully academic book, geared towards other academics and possibly clinicians, individual chapters in this book are so interesting and enlightening regarding mental health treatment and diagnosis that I would highly suggest anyone interested in mental health care flip through this book.
All of this was beautifully written and truly insightful. It is certainly one of my favorite anthropology books I have read in recent years....more
This is certainly an intriguing book with some interesting insights, but much of what kept me reading was the phenomenon of Anonymous itself, rather tThis is certainly an intriguing book with some interesting insights, but much of what kept me reading was the phenomenon of Anonymous itself, rather than the author's analysis. While I appreciate the author's accessible style of writing (i.e. non-academic writing), it seems like she sacrificed a lot of real cultural analysis in order to be accessible to the public. The final result is that the book reads more like a journalistic retelling of Anonymous/memoir of the author's experiences. There is so much to Anonymous and the current sociopolitical context that could reveal some really interesting trends and interpretations about democracy and freedom in the modern age. Overall, I was disappointed with her analysis, which relied too heavily on the Anonymous-as-trickster idea.
Regardless of how disappointed I was (I wanted this book to really be an ethnography with cultural anthropological analysis), the story that is being told is so riveting that I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested in Anonymous or concepts of privacy or activism or just the internet in general. ...more
Interesting premise and some significant conclusions regarding how Puerto Rican and Mexican identities are politicized, particularly in relation to ciInteresting premise and some significant conclusions regarding how Puerto Rican and Mexican identities are politicized, particularly in relation to citizenship. There isn't actually a lot of original research here though - most of the ideas seem to be synthesized from a review of previous literature (which is interesting in itself), with anecdotes from the field supporting those conclusions. Awkwardly written as well - it didn't flow well and would have page long paragraphs that rambled a bit.
I would still recommend it for the unique research topic alone. It certainly raises interesting questions about how US Citizenship is perceived and used, and who is actually able to access the rights of citizenship in which situations....more