ERIC Number: ED216767
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Learning How to Mother: An Ethnographic Investigation of an Urban Breastfeeding Group.
Merrill, Elizabeth J. Bryant
Macrocosmic and microcosmic perspectives are employed in this ethnographic study of a La Leche League mothering/breastfeeding group in Buffalo, New York, in order to place the group in its historical perspective and cultural context and to describe its structure as a small cultural system. The first section provides an historical overview of mothering in American society in the attempt to present a brief background for understanding the group's context in present-day culture. A rationale for the study is presented in the second section, as well as a brief introduction to the methodology of the "well-grounded" ethnography which this study employs to produce an emic structural analysis. The remaining three sections describe the ethnography itself. The third section, "Getting Oriented," specifically discusses the arena in which the study took place, the interconnecting sets of scenes, and the focal breastfeeding group. The fourth section describes in detail the focal group's microstructure in terms of participants' classification of activities, persons, and environs. The fifth section is concerned with a wider arena, the mass forces acting upon the scene and their effect on the life careers of its members. Further consideration of the social structure under construction and the implications and use of the methodology is given in a concluding footnote. (RH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Breastfeeding; La Leche League; Macroanalysis; Microanalysis; Microcultures; Support Groups
Note: Not available in hard copy due to marginal legibility of original document. Checklists on pages 39-42 have been omitted due to poor print quality. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Society (80th, Los Angeles, CA, December 3-6, 1981).