Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

John Bowen


This dissertation examines the ways that the people in the village of Lunyuk, Sumbawa negotiate relationships and identity in their discussions about pregnancy and childbirth. At the center of the analysis are dueling midwives: those with biomedical training: bidan) versus those who use a local indigenous obstetrical knowledge similar to that found in much of Indonesia: dukun bayi). They compete with each other for patients, who are likewise making sense of their position in the world while juggling the pressures from national citizenship, local ethnic membership, Islam, and obstetric knowledge options. Specifically, this dissertation examines how people in this region use the two well-defined systems of obstetrical knowledge, the locally-practiced, indigenous versus the biomedical, to configure their social status and identity when confronted with the need to care for pregnancy and childbirth in a region where maternal and infant mortality is relatively common.


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