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Breastfeeding, media and culture: negotiating space, modesty, motherhood and risk in Malaysia

Mohamad, Emma 2011. Breastfeeding, media and culture: negotiating space, modesty, motherhood and risk in Malaysia. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This study explores how Malay women negotiate religion (Islam) and culture in their understanding of breastfeeding and their responses to media representations. The study adopts a cultural anthropological approach, exploring women's relationship with breastfeeding in specific cultural context, but also linking with debates about media influence. The thesis unpacks the complex relationship between media and audience by examining breast and formula feeding in both general and specialist media, as well as exploring mothers' discussions about infant feeding (which include their responses to media prompts and them making collages) in focus groups. The study suggests that culture and religion play an important role in women's understanding of breastfeeding and the media. In particular, this thesis identifies how women negotiate Islamic rule about milk kinship and the notion of bonding, which affect how they feel about wet nursing practice. In addition, mothers recognise their responsibilities as Muslim women (through the rules of aurat) which shape feelings of modesty and the way they look at space (both media and real space). Women also discuss ideologies of motherhood through the 'types' of women who would breast or formula feed, and identify with their role as mothers in their responses to media stories about infant feeding risk. The study therefore locates Malay mothers as audiences whose readings link to everyday lives, embodied experiences, and identities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
ISBN: 9781303196461
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:30

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