Global Midwifery and the Technologies of Emotion

  • Maria Fannin School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol
Keywords: activist organizations, midwifery, International Alliance of Midwives, global network, emotional investment, Global culture, transcendent mobility, emotion


This paper examines the emergence of activist organizations promoting
midwifery as a “global” practice. New organizations like the International Alliance of Midwives link individual midwives and midwifery advocates through Internetbased chat rooms, websites, and discussion lists. These organizations draw productively on representations of midwives as world citizens to establish new forms of connection, fostered in part by technological developments in communication that posit direct links between local activists through a global network. Yet what kinds of visions are forged through invocations of midwifery’s globality? Differences in the political, cultural, and economic status of midwifery worldwide complicate the efforts of midwives to advocate for a global political midwifery movement. By examining the “global” as a site of emotional investment,
I demonstrate how midwives’ attempts to map “tradition” and “technique” reveal attachments to particular ways of imagining the world. The world has become a global village. With this freedom to share
information comes the ability to travel and relocate. When midwives
move from one country to another, they should, with equivalent
education and credentials, be able to practice their profession
wherever they live (Verber, 1995:para. 1).
Global culture ... is an aspiration, a fantasy, a desire as well as a
marketplace and systems of flows and exchanges. Global subjects are
constituted through the promise of a transcendent mobility, allowing
them to move freely across time and space, joining the transnational
flows of other objects (images, information, products) (Stacey,
How to Cite
Fannin, M. (1). Global Midwifery and the Technologies of Emotion. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 5(1), 70-88. Retrieved from
Special Issue - Gender, Space and Technology (Guest Edited by Kate Boyer)