Sharing Milk

Intimacy, Materiality and Bio-Communities of Practice

Shannon Carter and Beatriz Reyes-Foster

Sharing Milk

Shannon Carter and Beatriz Reyes-Foster

Distributed for Bristol University Press

224 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $115.00 ISBN: 9781529202083 Will Publish June 2020 For sale in North and South America only
Mothers in Western societies face pressure to breastfeed, yet many experience social, structural, and biological obstacles. Most will turn to infant formula, however a small but growing number are seeking milk from peers. Peer milk sharing is the unremunerated transfer of human milk from one caregiver to another for infant feeding. This book explores the journeys that bring women to give and receive human milk, based on four years of ethnographic engagement with milk sharing communities throughout Central Florida. Providing a distinctly sociological perspective, the book interrogates milk sharing as a site where inequality and privilege are enacted and reproduced. Overall the book argues that mothers who milk-share in the US “ who are predominantly white and middle-class perform moral motherwork, engaging in the reproductive labor of deploying their intersectional privilege to mother in a moral way, building identities as moral mothers and fostering communities who perform this work. By examining this phenomenon as a case study, the reader will get a glimpse of how contemporary milk sharing challenges and reiterates US cultural values of body boundedness, individual responsibility and community, and notions of white middle-class femininity.
Contents
I. Introduction; II. Giving and Receiving; III.The Motherwork of Milk Sharing; IV.Commodification; V.Value; VI.Conclusion
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