604.2 Secular state x spiritualized knowledge: Reflections on the practices of traditional midwives in Brazil and its rightful place

Friday, August 3, 2012: 2:50 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
In Weberian terms modern science is marked by the "disenchantment of the world", where the predominance of reason. Thus the so-called scientific knowledge is dichotomous in relation to knowledge of the tradition, whereas the second is imbued with spirituality, religion and magic. Then locate the conflict between secularism and the modern state of knowledge of the tradition of midwifery in Brazil.
The secularism of the state is based on the bureaucratic model and rational. While religion permeates all processes in the tradition of Midwives, constantly use these magical-religious justifications to perform maneuvers, prayers during childbirth, beliefs, herbs in the care of the mother and the newborn.
This struggle is reflected in the current situation of Midwives in Brazil. There are in this country around 60 000 Midwives today. The State recognizes the Midwives in fact, but not of law. Recognizes when they offer training. But law does not recognize as the craft of midwifery as a profession is not regulated. The 7531 Bill of 2006 was moving in Congress for this purpose, but in September 2010 the project was withdrawn for political purposes.   

The socioeconomic status of Traditional Midwives is most often poverty. About 80% of the universe of traditional midwives in Brazil are illiterate.
Although the reference to midwives in the communities which they live and often play the role of the state itself, in regions where the state can not reach, for example, in some communities in the Amazon region with regard to care for pregnant women they do not yet have a rightful place in Brazil.    

The office of the Midwife is not illegal, but it's not legalized. The midwives working in the name of tradition, are working to benefit society, but not recognized as such by the State.