Ways of Knowing: Open and Closed Systems

When a baby is gestating in the mother’s womb, neural circuits are being formed in its brain. This process begins in early pregnancy and continues as the baby grows, until by the time of birth the baby’s developing brain already contains millions of pathways and connections. Much of the information that flows along these circuits is cultural. As it develops, the baby receives enormous amounts of cultural information from the mother’s activities: when she goes to sleep, when she wakes, how she moves during the day, her speech patterns, her emotions, etc.
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About Author: Robbie Davis-Floyd

Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin, and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, is a medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of reproduction. Robbie lectures at childbirth, midwifery and obstetrical conferences around the world. Robbie has written over 80 articles and the book Birth as an American Rite of Passage (2004). Her research on global trends and transformations in childbirth, obstetrics and midwifery is ongoing.

Robbie is lead editor of ten collections. Robbie currently serves as editor for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (www.imbci.org) and member of the Board of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO).

Robbie is co-author of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998) and The Anatomy of Ritual (forthcoming). She has co-edited ten collections, including Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (1997);Reconceiving Midwives: The New Canadian Model of Care; Mainstreaming Midwives: The Politics of Change (2006); Intuition: the Inside Story (1997); and Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (1998); and Birth Models That Work (2009). Her research on global trends and transformations in childbirth, obstetrics and midwifery is ongoing.

Visit Robbie’s website at www.davis-floyd.com.

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