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Personhood, Birth, Babies, and Children

  • Cathrine Degnen
Chapter

Abstract

Focusing on birth and childhood, this chapter shows how personhood is not always granted by virtue of physiological birth; infants and children are often perceived as liminal beings and not fully human persons for some period of time. Explored here are the ways in which the biological and the social are co-constitutive in regard to personhood, and the processual ways in which personhood is attributed and made. As well as looking at naming, feeding, and eating as ethnographic examples of processes required to shape neonates into persons, the chapter also draws attention to how although childhood in Western thought tends to be based on notions of developmental stages, biological determinism, and calendrical time, these are culturally bound concepts and not universal truths.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathrine Degnen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Politics & SociologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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