Birthing Work

The Collective Labour of Childbirth

  • Katharine¬†McKinnon

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 1-17
  3. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 19-35
  4. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 37-52
  5. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 53-67
  6. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 69-85
  7. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 87-105
  8. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 107-121
  9. Katharine McKinnon
    Pages 123-129
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 131-144

About this book


This book traces the assemblage that comes into being in the spaces and experiences of childbirth. Charting the contributions of the multiple human and non-human actors that contribute to the birth experience, it offers a new perspective on childbirth that cuts across the often emotional debates about natural versus medicalised birth. Drawing on ethnographic interviews with mothers, midwives and obstetricians, it provides an insight into the collective endeavours that shape birth. In doing so, it also explores who does the work of childbirth, expanding the boundaries for who (and what) is responsible for this collective labour and highlighting the interdependencies that characterise it. Structured around eight chapters that each focus on a different actor in the birth space, the volume argues that pregnancy and childbearing brings us into new relationships: with ourselves, with the child to be born, our partners and families, those who care for us, and with more-than-human others.


childbirth motherhood reproductive labour diverse economies community economies care care work

Authors and affiliations

  • Katharine¬†McKinnon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social InquiryLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-981-15-0009-1
  • Online ISBN 978-981-15-0010-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site