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Anthropologica

Print version ISSN 0254-9212

Abstract

IRONS, Rebecca. (Re)Producing Peruvian Professionals: State Welfare and Poor Quechua Mother’s Maternal Citizenship. Anthropologica [online]. 2019, vol.37, n.43, pp.227-253. ISSN 0254-9212.  http://dx.doi.org/10.18800/anthropologica.201902.010.

Through the discourses of financial-independence and «professionalisation» of offspring promoted by state-provided health-care and welfare (Juntos), Quechua women living in poverty find that upon entering motherhood their full citizenship becomes conditional on successful behaviours and stewardship of children to a more «desirable» livelihood than their own. This suggests that motheringwhile-poor places a moral value on women that the state uses to justify monitoring and governing them. This paper is based on one-year’s ethnographic-fieldwork in rural communities and health centres or posts in Vilcashuaman province, Ayacucho department, Peru. 100 interviews were conducted with women, men and health-workers, in addition to substantial participant-observation. Whilst the pervasive discourses overburden women’s freedoms, there are alternatives to «professionalization» of indigenous-youth that do not require the financial literacy currently imposed on mothers. This paper suggests that moral values placed on poor-maternities are sometimes used unfairly as a justification for reproductiveintervention and revocation of full-citizenship for poor, indigenous women.

Keywords : motherhood; health; citizenship; state welfare; family planning.

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