By following the daily lives of rural women in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh, an agricultural region with high rates of infant mortality, where maternal health services are poor while family planning efforts are intensive, from a range of castes and communities, the author considers the women's own experiences of birth and infant death, their ways of making-do, and the hierarchies they create and contend with. This book develops an approach to access to care that focuses on emotion, domestic spaces, illicit and extra-institutional biomedicine, and household and neighborly relations. It shows that, as part of the concatenation of affect and access, globalized moralities about reproduction are dependent on ambiguous ideas about caste. Through the unfolding of birth and death, a new vision of "untouchability" emerges that is integral to visions of progress.
Sarah Pinto is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University. She has published articles on childbearing, the politics of development, Dalit women, and languages of grief and is currently conducting research on mental health status and Dalit women in urban India.