Obstructed Labour analyzes how the movement to legalize midwifery in Ontario reproduced racial inequality by excluding from practice hundreds of professional midwives from the global south. Global macroprocesses of power, institutional forms of exclusion, and interpersonal expressions of racism all play a part. Sheryl Nestel shows that unequal relations between women underlie the successful challenge to patriarchal medical authority mounted by provincial midwifery activists. This is a disquieting but fascinating counter-history of the re-emergence of midwifery.
Obstructed Labour should be read by those who want to understand how racism works in both policy and everyday practice as well as by those interested in pursuing equity in the struggle for women's reproductive rights.
Sheryl Nestel teaches in the Sociology and Equity Studies Department of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
Acknowledgments Acronyms Introduction: A New Profession to the White Population in Canada 1 Technologies of Exclusion 2 Midwifery in Ontario: A Counter-History 3 Midwifery Tourism 4 "Ambassadors of the Profession": The Construction of Respectable Midwifery 5 Narratives of Exclusion and Resistance of Women of Colour Conclusion: The Construction of Unequal Subjects Appendix A: Information letter for research participants Appendix B: Poster to solicit study participants Appendix C: Chronology of midwifery in Ontario Appendix D: Interview for immigrant midwives of colour Appendix E: Interview for white "non-elite" midwives Appendix F: Interview for white members of midwifery bodies Appendix G: Interview for women of colour who participated on midwifery bodies Notes References Index