Cultural Determinants of Liminal Lives in Rural Anatolia: Patriarchal Veils Framing Infants’ Destinies

  •  Yaprak H. Civelek    


This study focuses on my field experiences conducting the Turkey Demographic and Health Surveys, Turkey Maternal Mortality Survey, and extensive use of qualitative research on family planning and induced abortion in Turkey since 1993. During the surveys, I had the opportunity to gather substantial information about women’s everyday experiences in relation to traditional practices, approaches to health and health care, as well as women’s attitudes and emotional contexts. The women’s narratives included heartbreaking and tragic experiences related to traditional gender norms within the families. In this paper, I examine the effect of patriarchal/gender hierarchies on the experiences of brides in relation to infant mortality data through a qualitative approach based on observations, field notes, and in-depth interviews with women. This research questions the impact of the culturally determined gender and age hierarchies within these extended families on the liminal life of infants and their mothers in Anatolia. How do these relationships determine the life courses of infants during their initial years? The concepts of “liminality” and development of “personhood” frame the theoretical grounds to further articulate bride/mother/infant visibility and invisibility within these families and the experiences of infant mortality.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-7173
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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