Accepted Paper:

Where fertilty and mortality collide: governing maternal mortality in out-of-the-way places  


Yvonne Underhill-Sem (University of Auckland)

Paper short abstract:

Maternal mortality rates are examined for the ways in which they constitute maternal bodies in PNG

Paper long abstract:

Fertility and mortality are widely and simply understood as two of the three determinants of a nation's population dynamics alongside migration. Yet these self-evident understandings belie the importance of the how the conceptual framing of these processes contribute to the framing and subsequent governance of the particular citizen bodies. This is particularly evident when they are intimately connected as in maternal mortality: there cannot be a maternal death without fertility to begin with.

This paper begins by examining the abysmally high maternal mortality rates in Papua New Guinea. It considers how they construct a particular citizen body in Papua New Guinea where the call to pay attention to high maternal mortality rates to address the tragedy of a maternal death and to advance overall development, runs in contrast to the importance of fertility as a means of securing membership of a group and growing evidence of sexual violence against women.

Panel P13
Senses and citizenships: contestations over national and global identities, resources, and forms of belonging