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Title: Narrating Arab Muslim women's identities in London : storytelling and the cultural dimensions of the maternity information environment
Author: Davies, Myfanwy Mair
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 3078
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis describes patterns of cross-cultural communication between Arab Muslim women from Iraq, Morocco and Yemen and London-based GPs, midwives and obstetricians within information-giving encounters in maternity services. It aims to provide a foundation of cultural knowledge on both sets of participants that maternity health professionals may use to inform communication with women from diverse Arab Muslim groups. A narrative approach to identity is taken in order to explore how both groups of participants position themselves in accounts that were structured around motherhood and the uses of information and oral knowledge on the progress to motherhood. In order to explore the meanings that the physical experiences of pregnancy, birth and motherhood have for women and health professionals, a modified phenomenological approach is taken according to which physical experience is understood to be continually framed by language and by cultural interpretations. Practices of information-giving are explored as these relate to liberal discourses of justice and to the production of a subject to whom rights attach in the public realm. Processes of the legitimisation of knowledge as information are considered as these may be perceived to function to exert power on women's bodies and selves through apparently neutral forms of communication provided by health professionals. Across Arab Muslim participant groups, perceptions of embodiment, agency and of the uses of maternity information and storytelling diverged along axes of class, nation and locality. Communication with health professionals among each of these groups rested on the manner in which the maternal body was imagined to symbolise belonging to places of origin and on the manner in which experiences of birth in London were used to imagine cultural difference. Findings for health professionals suggested that conflicts in identity . . arising from the status of the maternal body and of individual agency served to delimit communication with Arab Muslim women and with non-white women in general. Recommendations for health professionals are included in the final chapter
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available