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Breast Feeding and Sexuality: Behaviour, Beliefs and Taboos among the Gogo Mothers in Tanzania

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Volume 5

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Breast Feeding and Sexuality

Behaviour, Beliefs and Taboos among the Gogo Mothers in Tanzania

Mara Mabilia
Translated from the Italian by Mary S. Ash

176 pages, 4 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-677-1 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (June 2005)

ISBN  978-1-84545-299-5 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (October 2006)

eISBN 978-1-78238-607-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This volume is exemplary in the field of anthropological research…The writing style is clear and reflective…I recommend Breastfeeding and Sexuality for those interested in Tanzanian maternal–child health practices, cross-cultural studies, anthropological research methods, breast-feeding and women’s experiences.”  ·  Journal of Biosocial Science

"...the book is to be highly recommended."  ·  JRAI


Whereas in western countries breastfeeding is an uncontroversial, purely personal issue, in most parts of the world mother and baby form part of a network of interpersonal relations with its own rules and expectations. In this study, the author examines the cultural and social context of breastfeeding among the Gogo women of the Cigongwe's village in Tanzania, as part of the Paediatric Programme of Doctors with Africa, based in Padua. The focus is on mothers' behaviour and post partum taboos as key elements in Gogo understanding of the vicissitudes of the breast feeding process. This nutritional period is subject to many different events both physical and social that may upset the natural and intense link between mother and child. Any violation of cultural norms, particularly those dealing with sexual behaviour, marriage and reproduction, can, in the eyes of the Gogo, put at risk the correct development of an infant with serious consequences both for the baby's health as well as for the woman's image as mother and wife.

Mara Mabilia teaches at the Intercultural Studies Master's Programme as well as Cultural Anthropology with a sub-field in Cooperation and Development at the Faculty of Education, both at University of Padua. She also lectures in other Postgraduate programmes (University of Brescia and University of Rome). She prepares doctors who serve as volunteers in Africa at C.U.A.M.M. Doctors with Africa - International College for Health Cooperation in Developing Countries, Padua.

Subject: Medical AnthropologyGender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Africa


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