Narrating Arab Muslim women's identities in London: storytelling and the cultural dimensions of the maternity information environment

Davies, Myfanwy Mair (2005) Narrating Arab Muslim women's identities in London: storytelling and the cultural dimensions of the maternity information environment. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

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

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 10177
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2013 10:37
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 22:55
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/10177

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