1932

Abstract

This review examines anthropological contributions over the past decade to the biocultural processes and practices of lactation via the analytical pillars of colonialism, racial capitalism, and medicalization. The nexus of these three processes has been foundational to the profound disruption and decline of breastfeeding in the mid-twentieth century and is still impacting ongoing efforts to restore and facilitate breastfeeding. Anthropologists have helped expose and challenge biocapitalist, medicalized conceptualizations of lactation that undermine breastfeeding often even when they claim to support it. Moreover, they have highlighted how ethnocentric cultural ideologies shape biomedical categories of “normal” infant feeding and lactation and have demonstrated the variability of these processes and practices. While these efforts have yielded important interventions into anthropology and a range of other disciplines, significant work remains to integrate efforts across the subfields and to challenge racist, oppressive systems that continue to shape both the study and the practice of lactation.

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2023-10-23
2024-04-23
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