Disciplinary discourses: rates of cesarean section explained by medicine, midwifery, and feminism
AuthorLee, Amy Su May; KIRKMAN, MAGGIE
Source TitleHealth Care for Women International
PublisherTaylor & Francis
AffiliationMedicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences: Key Centre for Women's Health in Society
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLee, A. S. M. & Kirkman, M. (2008). Disciplinary discourses: rates of cesarean section explained by medicine, midwifery, and feminism. Health Care for Women International, 29(5), 448-467.
Access StatusThis item is currently not available from this repository
© 2008 Taylor & Francis. Publisher's version is restricted access in accordance with the Taylor & Francis policy.
In the context of international concern about increasing rates of cesarean sections, we used discourse analysis to examine explanations arising from feminism and the disciplines of medicine and midwifery, and found that each was positioned differently in relation to the rising rates. Medical discourses asserted that doctors are authorities on birth and that, although cesareans are sometimes medically necessary, women recklessly choose unnecessary cesareans against medical advice. Midwifery discourses portrayed medicine as paternalistic toward both women and midwifery, and feminist discourses situated birth and women's bodies in the context of a patriarchally structured society. The findings illustrate the complex ways in which this intervention in birth is discursively constructed, and demonstrate its significance as a site of disciplinary conflict.
Keywordsdiscourse analysis; birth intervention; cesarean rates
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