Niwan Chamel – “The Big Illness” Pregnancy Among Tojolabales Of Chiapas, Mexico
Master’s Report for the M.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology
Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona
Thesis advisor and qualifying exam chair: Mark A. Nichter
Namino Glantz, 2003
Excessive maternal mortality in Tojolabal (Mayan) populations in Chiapas, Mexico, despite proclamation of maternal health as a national public health priority.
Harness medical anthropology to understand perceptions and experiences of pregnancy and childbirth among Tojolabales in Chiapas, Mexico to facilitate locally-initiated efforts promoting safe, voluntary motherhood via community-congruent intervention.
Biomedical and anthropological synthesis in which pregnancy and birth are defined as cultural events resting on social relationships and cultural meanings, such that maternal morbidity and mortality cannot be adequately addressed without understanding and attending to both biomedical and context-dependent social and cultural components.
- Review, organization, synthesis of maternal health data reaped from 1500+ pages of field notes generated during a three-year ethnographic study conducted by the Comitán Center for Health Research
- Analysis and discussion of data in light of recent conceptual shifts in approaches to studying and nnaddressing maternal mortality
Presentations of Findings
- Themantic summaries of local perceptions and experiences of: pregnancy, birth, after birth, value of children, infertility, miscarriage and abortion, assisting with births, being a daughter-in-law and having parents-in-law
- Narratives reconstructed from conversations and interviews contextualizing and illuminating lived experiences
- Overview of conceptual shifts in maternal mortality focus in the Tojolabal context
- Medical anthropology-oriented insight into Tojolabal maternal mortality revolving around: secular change, seasonality, meanings of place of care, social complications of pregnancy and conflict resolution, first pregnancies and births, maternal morbidity, and understanding women’s own priorities
- Comitán Center for Health Research www.cisc.org.mx
- National Science Foundation
- University of Arizona
Outline of Master’s Report
Glantz MA Outline
Complete Master’s Report
Available upon request: Contact Namino Glantz