Document Detail

Viability: a cultural calculus of personhood at the beginnings of life.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23361886     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
This article addresses birth and the recognition of personhood. It is about the calculated acts of recognition that take place at the beginnings of life when the obligation to protect and extend physical care is uncertain. It examines these dilemmas from the perspective of clinicians and scientists who assist in birth through their work with embryos, fetuses, and extremely premature infants in the United States. Through multisited ethnography and in-depth interviews at a leading U.S. teaching hospital, this article argues that the concept of viability operates as a placeholder for the recognition of personhood at the beginnings of life. Articulated in a language of survival and stratified by gestational age, this article explores how viability is a central organizing principle in the management of birth. It aims to situate questions about the value of life to the maternity unit where patients and clinicians face choices about the kinds of viability-and as a result persons-that are possible and desired within the contemporary culture of hospital births.
Astrid Christoffersen-Deb
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Medical anthropology quarterly     Volume:  26     ISSN:  0745-5194     ISO Abbreviation:  Med Anthropol Q     Publication Date:  2012 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-30     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8405037     Medline TA:  Med Anthropol Q     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  575-94     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2012 by the American Anthropological Association.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto.
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