Child Survival

Anthropological Perspectives on the Treatment and Maltreatment of Children

  • Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Part of the Culture, Illness and Healing book series (CIHE, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. The Cultural Politics of Child Survival

    1. Nancy Scheper-Hughes
      Pages 1-29
  3. Population, Fertility, and Child Survival

  4. Infanticide: Culturally Sanctioned Child Abuse

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 93-93
    2. Dorothy S. Mull, J. Dennis Mull
      Pages 113-132
  5. Social Trauma: The Effects of Poverty, Social Disruption, and Catastrophe on Child Treatment

  6. Child Abuse: Deviant and Idiosyncratic Child Maltreatment

  7. Child Saving: Problems and Dilemmas in Social Intervention

  8. Back Matter
    Pages 389-397

About this book


of older children, adults, and the family unit as a whole. These moral evaluations are, in turn, influenced by such external contingencies as popula­ tion demography, social and economic factors, subsistence strategies, house­ hold composition, and by cultural ideas concerning the nature of infancy and childhood, definitions of personhood, and beliefs about the soul and its immortality. MOTHER LOVE AND CHILD DEATH Of all the many factors that endanger the lives of young children, by far the most difficult to examine with any degree of dispassionate objectivity is the quality of parenting. Historians and social scientists, no less than the public at large, are influenced by old cultural myths about childhood inno­ cence and mother love as well as their opposites. The terrible power and significance attributed to maternal behavior (in particular) is a commonsense perception based on the observation that the human infant (specialized as it is for prematurity and prolonged dependency) simply cannot survive for very long without considerable maternal love and care. The infant's life depends, to a very great extent, on the good will of others, but most especially, of course, that of the mother. Consequently, it has been the fate of mothers throughout history to appear in strange and distorted forms. They may appear as larger than life or as invisible; as all-powerful and destructive; or as helpless and angelic. Myths of the maternal instinct compete, historically, witli -myths of a universal infanticidal impulse.


Case Management Child Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Child Welfare nutrition planning

Editors and affiliations

  • Nancy Scheper-Hughes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1987
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-55608-029-6
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-3393-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals
Consumer Packaged Goods