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This chapter draws on qualitative interviews to examine how Bhutanese refugees interact with norms around mothering and childbirth. Since these women have birthed and…
This chapter draws on qualitative interviews to examine how Bhutanese refugees interact with norms around mothering and childbirth. Since these women have birthed and reared children in Bhutan and/or Nepal, as well as in the United States, their stories help to explore how the implications of medicalization differ for individuals by race, class, and nation, with a unique cross-comparative lens. In particular, the respondents uniquely identify epidurals as an important medical intervention, simultaneously increasing their autonomy while subscribing to neoliberal mothering. This research furthers our understanding of neoliberal mothering and medicalization by showing a nuanced script that illuminates social processes, resistance, and internalization through an intersectional and cross-cultural lens.
Using queer/crip theory as a frame, I examine the narratives of 17 mothers raising children with disabilities.
Using queer/crip theory as a frame, I examine the narratives of 17 mothers raising children with disabilities.
Results show that the mothers’ narratives of an imagined future for their children often involve the idea of success in terms of production and reproduction. However, some mothers do question this idea of normalcy, challenge deeply seated ideas about neoliberal inclusion, and reframe disability as a different way of existing as opposed to a deficient way of being.
The focus of this paper is on how mothers imagine different kinds of social arrangements. Some mothers, instead of embracing success as narrowly defined under neoliberalism, challenge the idea and instead offer queer narratives of parenting. This study illustrates how counternarratives can be constructed to resist prevailing narratives of disability as deficiency.
Purpose – Informed by Chinese mothers from four villages, the purpose of this chapter is to address the old issue of feminization of family survival, but situated within…
Purpose – Informed by Chinese mothers from four villages, the purpose of this chapter is to address the old issue of feminization of family survival, but situated within the landscape of neoliberalism. This study investigates the interplay between Chinese patriarchal values and neoliberal ideas that have shaped the Happiness Project – Action to Aid Impoverished Mothers – an official population control program that has been combined with poverty reduction “Action.”
Methodology – This research began in 2001 in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. Over a period of three years I interviewed 48 women who were participants in the Happiness Project.
Findings – The goal of the Happiness Project is to bring “happiness” to poor mothers through the introduction of microcredit, literacy programs, and the improvement of reproductive health. Three maternal aspects of the Happiness Project, as the study indicates, coincide with three particular patriarchal values. These include an official construction of a good mother image, targeting women's bodies as objects of the state's population control, and reinforcing gender stereotypes through market activity. The findings of this research suggest that feminization of family survival coincided with achieving the goal of the Project. Mothers thus have carried a double burden on behalf of the Chinese state and their families: the goals of declining fertility and increasing family prosperity.
Social implications – Based on this outcome, the study not only calls for reevaluating this “women-only” economic development model, but also calls into question whether bringing Chinese women into public production/market activity is a path to women's emancipation under neoliberalism.
This chapter examines how women deploy gendered motherhood norms to publicly challenge abortion stigma. Drawing on a sample of 41 abortion stories from women living in…
This chapter examines how women deploy gendered motherhood norms to publicly challenge abortion stigma. Drawing on a sample of 41 abortion stories from women living in Tennessee, I find that women evoke notions of intensive, total, and idealized motherhood in order to manage and challenge the stigma of an abortion. A large proportion of these stories were written by married mothers who emphasized their identities as good mothers and wives. A close qualitative analysis of these trends reveals two dominant forms of recasting abortion. First, abortion is framed as an extension of total mothering to spare an unborn baby from risky health conditions. Part of this includes casting abortion as an often-necessary choice in order for a woman to develop into the perfect mother for the benefit of her children – altruistic self-development. Second, abortion is construed as a form of maternal protection of current children to continue intensively mothering them. Both themes speak to women’s strategies for reframing abortion as a health practice to promote the well-being of children. These findings have implications for the study of medical stigma, reproduction, and the impact of gender ideals on women’s health choices.
Public health programs facilitate access to resources that not only provide individuals’ options but also often foreclose individual preference through prescriptive…
Public health programs facilitate access to resources that not only provide individuals’ options but also often foreclose individual preference through prescriptive requirements. This chapter takes two disparate cases from public health – vaccines and family planning –that reveal patterns of inequality in who has access to individual choice and who requires state support to exercise choice. Looking specifically at dynamics of funding and compulsion, this chapter elucidates how reliance on the rhetoric of individual choice as an expression of freedom rewards those with the greatest access to resources and fails to make sure that all members of the community have the resources to shape their own outcomes or to make sure collective health is protected.
Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork conducted in rural Manitoba and throughout the Philippines with temporary foreign workers employed at a small inn and…
Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork conducted in rural Manitoba and throughout the Philippines with temporary foreign workers employed at a small inn and conference centre and their non-migrant kin, this chapter offers an introduction to and expansion of feminist engagements with social reproduction and global care chains. This chapter illustrates the importance of feminist analysis of migration trajectories and labour processes that fall outside of the conventional purview of gender and migration studies. To this end, it suggests that in addition to interrogating the conditions and rational under which reproduction comes to be articulated and experienced as labour, consideration of how divergent forms of labour also constitute and shape reproduction can provide significant insight into the social consequences of neoliberal capitalism, while revealing the ways in which the gendered and racialized parameters of reproductive and intimate labour come to be reproduced.
This chapter explores processes of stratification in reproductive healthcare and considers the ways in which mechanisms of inclusion/exclusion shape reproductive…
This chapter explores processes of stratification in reproductive healthcare and considers the ways in which mechanisms of inclusion/exclusion shape reproductive opportunities and experiences. First, I consider the process of “selective inclusion” among sexual minority women. This examination questions the schisms that exist within the sexual minority population in regard to their visibility and legibility in medical, scientific, and public health discourses and constructions of reproductive health. The second process I examine is that of “exclusionary inclusion” among substance using pregnant women who have been collectively deemed “bad breeders” by medical and state authorities and whose reproduction is explicitly monitored, regulated, and criminalized. The final process I discuss is “side-stepping inclusion” which describes the healthcare and consumer decisions of women who circumvent medicalized childbirth experiences by employing the services of a midwife for their pregnancy and birth care. This chapter examines how medicalization, biomedicalization, and de-medicalization dynamically work together to expand and delimit inclusionary processes, emphasizing the spectral and interconnected quality of these processes. By exploring various processes of inclusion that shape reproductive experiences of these disparate and differentially marginalized populations, this chapter provides a conceptual and critical meditation on the ways in which “respectable reproduction” is deployed in reproductive care. In considering these processes of inclusion and the ways in which they are co-produced by medical discourses and practices, scholars may more clearly grasp some fundamental mechanisms of stratification in reproductive healthcare and knowledge production.
In the seemingly perpetual battle among cities to secure economic growth, one strategy has gained increasing credence of late: luring the Creative Class. The argument…
In the seemingly perpetual battle among cities to secure economic growth, one strategy has gained increasing credence of late: luring the Creative Class. The argument, promulgated by Professor of Economic Development Richard Florida (2002a, pp. 4–5), suggests that human creativity is now the “decisive source of competitive advantage” and cities can thrive by tapping and harnessing such creativity. The primary ingredients in this sweeping recipe for urban success are a group of young, mobile, diverse, ‘creative’ professionals, who constitute a social class of their own, according to Florida's popular book, The Rise of the Creative Class (2002). This Creative Class – if cities can attract and retain it – operates as its own economic machine, producing jobs, enhancing productivity, and increasing the overall well being of the city, Florida argues. From an urban economic development perspective, the role of the city is to create the conditions in which this Creative Class and associated industries can flourish.
Unassisted childbirth, also known as “freebirth,” is when a person intentionally gives birth at home with no professional birth attendant. The limited research on…
Unassisted childbirth, also known as “freebirth,” is when a person intentionally gives birth at home with no professional birth attendant. The limited research on unassisted birth in the United States focuses on women’s reasons for making this choice. Studies suggest women are committed to birthing without a professional and that this choice is rooted in religious or natural-family belief systems. These studies do not adequately account for the ways a framework of “choice” obscures the role structural barriers play in decision-making processes. International research on unassisted childbirth finds that it is not always a first choice and may be a last resort for women who have had negative experiences with maternity care. More research on unassisted birth in the United States is needed to better understand if people face similar structural barriers. In this paper I examine how structural limitations of the US healthcare system intersect with values in decision-making processes about childbirth. Drawing on in-depth interviews with nine women who gave birth unassisted in the United States, I examine the women’s shared ideological commitments, negative experiences with health care, and barriers faced seeking care. I discovered that unassisted birth may not be a first, or even positive choice, but rather a compromise informed by ideological commitments and constrained choices. Structural barriers in the US healthcare system prevented women from having a professional birth attendant who they felt was acceptable, available, and accessible. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for debates about birth justice and health policy.