Listening to women : an ethnography of childbearing women living in poverty
Hunt, Sheila C. (2001) Listening to women : an ethnography of childbearing women living in poverty. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1374282~S1
This thesis examines the ways in which childbearing women living in poverty made
sense of their lives and experiences. Based in the West Midlands, in an area of urban
decay and major inequalities in health, the research focused on the lives of 25 women
during their childbirth experience. The theoretical framework is feminist
poststructuralism and throughout the study, I recognise that there is no single, unified
woman's voice, and no universal solution to the problem of pregnancy and poverty.
The thesis examines the different ways in which individual women experience
pregnancy and poverty. The research draws on a range of ethnographic methods
including interviews and participant observation. The fieldwork was undertaken over a
two year period mainly through meetings with women in their own homes but also at
the GP surgery and other more public places.
The data discussed in the thesis illustrate the private stresses and strains of poverty
related to how women cope with pregnancy and the demands of small children. I was
especially interested in how childbearing women living in poverty were alike and how
they were different. The women who contributed to this study shared a well
developed sense of responsibility, doing what was right and putting their children first.
They worked hard to be seen as respectable, and balanced the needs of their children
with the demands of a life dominated by poverty. I considered the networks of support
and the importance of grandmothers in some women's lives. I have considered the
changing and varied relationships that women had with the men in their lives and the
different ways in which they resolved conflict in their relationships. Some women
were determined to go it alone and to rid themselves of the men in their lives. For over
half the women in the sample, domestic violence was an everyday reality of their lives
and I examined the similarities and differences in their experiences. I have also found
evidence of the adverse effect of some midwives' attitudes towards these women.
Beliefs based on stereotypes and prejudice meant that women living in poverty
sometimes experienced less than adequate care. The thesis concludes by making
recommendations for further research and for improving midwifery practice for the
benefit of women.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Low-income mothers -- Great Britain -- West Midlands -- Case studies, Childbirth -- Great Britain -- West Midlands -- Case studies, Maternal health services -- Great Britain|
|Official Date:||February 2001|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Sociology|
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