Reproduction and Regulation : Infant Mortality in Kalamazoo and Beyond
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This paper is concerned with the way that we societally come to conceptualize the phenomenon of infant mortality. Infant mortality - the death of an infant before its first birthday - has become a marker for overall community health and wellbeing. The rhetoric around infant mortality in the United States is largely a conversation about how certain infants, specifically black infants, are dying at incredibly high rates. The discourse that emerges to understand infant mortality and racial disparities in infant mortality is largely a conversation about race, gender, class, health, and community. How these ideas are understood informs how infant mortality is understood, and therefore shapes the kinds of interventions that are taken to address infant mortality. This paper seeks to understand infant mortality not solely as a public health phenomenon, as it is largely understood, but as a symptom of larger social reality. A review of existing literature coupled with experience working with Cradle Kalamazoo leads to exploration of how infant mortality is understood within certain Kalamazoo institutions and beyond.