Of Motherhood & Melancholia: Notebook of a Psycho-Ethnographer by Kruger, L
Publisher: UKZN Press 2019
This book is about the slow violence of poverty. Lou-Marié Kruger’s clinical and research encounters in the Dwarsrivier Valley attempt to give an account of the complex realities and lived experiences of low-income mothers in post-apartheid South Africa.
Focusing specifically on maternal life in a semi-rural community, the work can be regarded as a South African case study, showing how particular happenings, specific events, unique interactions and larger societal processes become intertwined to result in complex narratives. Such intricate narratives do not only show how the past always impacts on the present, but can also implicitly suggest how and why such stories are prone to be repeated. While the book can be seen as a study of a place and a community, the lives of individual people and how they are embedded in the larger matrix of culture, history and the political economy are also present. The pertinent question here is one asked by medical anthropologist Paul Farmer: by which mechanisms precisely, do social forces ranging from poverty to racism to gender become embodied as individual experience?