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Religious Rituals and Secular Rituals: Interpenetrating Models of Childbirth in a Modern, Israeli Context

Susan Starr Sered
Sociology of Religion
Vol. 54, No. 1, Religion and Gender Relationships (Spring, 1993), pp. 101-114
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3711844
Page Count: 14
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Religious Rituals and Secular Rituals: Interpenetrating Models of Childbirth in a Modern, Israeli Context
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Abstract

Women interviewed at a maternity hospital in Jerusalem were found to have selected childbirth rituals from a very large ritual reservoir, gleaned from diverse religious and nonreligious sources. This chapter argues that previous studies of childbirth rituals may well have underestimated the extent to which the precise ritual packages of individuals are idiosyncratic. Factors encouraging idiosyncratic ritual selection among the women of this study include: multiple models of childbirth behavior, modernity, pluralism, lack of absolute ritual requirements, and multiple sources of childbirth information.

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