Summary Of Nancy Scheper-Hughes Lifeboat Ethics

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The article by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, “Lifeboat Ethics: Mother Love and Child Death in Northeast Brazil” really struck me out of all the articles on gender and family that we have been reading in this class. I have never thought about how poverty and one’s culture can affect the quality of motherhood and the impact that has on children. However, this article sheds light on the dark reality that the women and children face every day in this this small Brazilian town. Consequently, this begs us to ask the question…why are they not doing more to prevent it. Scheper-Hughes is cautious and makes sure to try and remain partial and portrays a somewhat sympathetic picture of the mothers, rather than condemning them for abandoning their children and leaving them to fend for themselves. She demonstrates how the issue really stems from the culture and the lack of support these women get from men, the government, and from the Catholic church. Their lack of support coupled with the economic status leave them with little options when it comes to supporting their children financially, nutritionally, medically, or emotionally. …show more content…
Consider for a moment the single mom who works and allows her children to come home from school unattended? Furthermore, the women who continually have more children knowing that they cannot afford them, but are at least provided social services such as housing, Medicaid, and food stamps to provide for their children. Our cultures ultimately vary greatly providing for what each culture believes is important. Is this because of the social economic status of each of these areas. Would changing the economics of the region change the overall results? Or would culture still have a greater