In this brilliant monograph, Tine Gammeltoft deals with the relationship between reproduction and belonging. Gammeltoft conducted 5 years of research in ultrasound rooms in Hanoi, Vietnam, following families who had heard that their child would be born with a bodily defect. With an average of 2,5 abortions per woman in Vietnam, selective abortion is a likely outcome of such a scan. Through insightful vignettes and quotes, Gammeltoft examines how decisions about selective abortion are made. She shows that only healthy, contributing bodies will become full members of society, as well as grant their parents belonging in that society through their successful reproduction. Tying in this with the historical context of Agent Orange and the Vietnamese state’s political goals of a healthy nation void of disability, Gammeltoft therefore argues that these reproductive decisions should be seen as acts of belonging rather than of individual choice.
Having read this monograph with my class ‘The Global Politics of Reproduction’ last semester, I highly recommend this book for students interested in medical anthropology, the body and reproduction. Students interested in Vietnam will also find this monograph insightful as it gives a large overview of Vietnamese society by focusing on a subject that is core to ideas of personhood, nation and politics. Finally, this is simply an excellent example of an ethnographic monograph and all that it can be: the minute of everyday observations tied in beautifully with larger societal processes building up to an argument that challenges your preconceived notions about the topic.
Tine M. Gammeltoft, 2014. Haunting images. A cultural account of selective reproduction in Vietnam. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
Ausleihbar in der Bibliothek Ethnologie: ESZ AML: 158
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