Department of Anthropology

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Congratulations to Bronwen Gillespie

A huge congratulations to CORTH member Bronwen Gillespie who has just completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, within the area of public health and development, with a specific focus on nutrition, childcare and parenting.

‘Much More than Malnutrition: Motherhood and the State in the Peruvian Andes’

My research draws on women’s lived experience as recipients of state programmes and services aimed at poor mothers to explore contradictions in processes of development and social inclusion. State concern with chronic child malnutrition serves as the entrance point to my research, carried out in rural Ayacucho, Peru, in 2012 and 2013. This project was motivated by concerns regarding the medicalisation of food scarcity, as malnutrition, and how this approach spread to further interventions by the state to shape parenting in the rural Andes. Women’s ambivalent responses to these programmes raise important questions, first of all, about being the targeted object and what ‘for poor mothers’ means to those so categorized, and secondly, about the act of targeting, and how it can serve both as a constraint and as a resource. My work builds on the concept of ‘reproductive governance’ by examining how women in their roles as mothers are sought out for the development of the nation, and urged to act along state-recommended lines. I explore how they make use of what is on offer and manage the boundaries of their inclusion. I show that considerations of agency are central to debates on citizenship and inclusion, as well as to understanding the implications of medicalisation.

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By: Centre for Cultures of Reproduction
Last updated: Friday, 21 October 2016

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