Infrastructural Breaks on the Road from Birth to Death in Contemporary Russia

Institute for Interdisciplinary Health Research (IIHR)
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Sergei Mokhov, Anastasia Novkunskaya

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This paper addresses the problem of infrastructural breaks in two systems — the funeral market and maternity care. The authors analytically problematize how dysfunctions in the operation of these infrastructures shape the experiences of funeral and childbirth in contemporary Russia. The authors propose the conceptual model of the ‘rite of passage’, supplemented with the sociology of repair joint with the anthropology of infrastructures. Based on the ethnographic studies of the funeral market and maternity care (2015–2019), the authors uncover multiple infrastructural gaps and challenges that Russian families face while preparing for childbirth and funeral, especially in remote areas of the country.