Reading Birth and Death : A History of Obstetric Thinking
The issue of who should control childbirth remains one of the outstanding conflicts for the women's movement, despite almost four decades of campaigning for change. Its continuing relevance suggests that the problem of exercising choice and personal agency remains a political struggle for each woman who faces an institutional system of maternity care which demands compliance with its norms. Since the eighteenth century, obstetric discourse has had a decisive impact on the experiences of birth in countless women's lives. Using the historical records and writings of Irish doctors and maternity hospitals, this book analyzes the core beliefs and practices of obstetric science. These beliefs reveal a central theme of women's incompetence in birth and traces how such a radically gendered account has been so detrimental to women. The author argues that the problem of personal agency which women face stems directly from the way the science has worked. In exploring the currently important thesis of discourse and power in relation to scientific thinking, Reading Birth and Death makes an important contribution to the fields of obstetrics, midwifery, childbirth, education, sociology of the body, cultural studies and women's studies.
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- Hardback | 288 pages
- 156 x 234 x 25.4mm | 777g
- 31 Dec 1998
- Cork University Press
- Cork, Ireland