The politics of birth practices: a strategic analysis

American Sociological Review Vol/Iss. 38 Published In Pages: 663-676
By Paige, Karen, Paige, Jeffery M.


This article examines cross-cultural variation in customary birth practices for men and women, testing a general hypothesis that birth practices represent tactics in negotiations over paternity. Data supports this hypothesis, and a series of related variables are tested in bivariate analysis and path analysis. Findings suggest that compensation demands at birth are associated with maternal restrictions from paternity-related agreements (e.g. maternal seclusion during birth), and fraternal interest groups are associated with the husband’s ritual involvement at birth (e.g. demonstration of the couvade).

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Jessie Cohen Amelia Piazza