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Anthropology of Mothering

  • By: Michelle Walks
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The anthropology of mothering is the cultural study of mothering. In this field, as with all other topics of study, anthropologists focus on cultural beliefs and practices holistically and through cross-cultural comparison. This is similar but different from the sociological approach that focuses on social structures, social relations, and social interactions. Since anthropology is comprised of four fields—archaeology, physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics—anthropological studies of mothering cross species as well as historical and geographical lines. The Anthropology of Mothering recognizes that while motherhood exists universally, practices of mothering vary worldwide and historically. Thus, the Anthropology of Mothering offers cross-cultural examples of different types of mothering, in addition to a plethora of ideas about who can mother, and what a mother can be.

Perspectives of Mother ...
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