The medicalisation of maternity in Portugal and England: an ethnographic study

Leading researcher: Joanna White
Research group: Governance, Policies and Livelihoods
Type of project: Researcher contract
Status: Concluded
Keywords: Maternity | Pregnancy | Childbirth | Health policies | Medicalisation | Embodiment | Genre | Knowledge | Power | Agency


Main institution: CRIA
Participant institutions: n.a.
Funding: FCT/Marie Curie Actions
Reference: WELCOME II/119/CRIA/1007/2011
Starting date: 07-10-11

More information:

Abstract

The medicalisation of childbirth and its impacts are subjects which have garnered substantial interest amongst academics, health policy-makers, activists and the wider public. Social science scholarship has revealed how a myriad of factors influence the subjective experiences and outcomes of maternity. These include internalized gender identities, embodiment, maternal health service structures and the “authoritative knowledge” of health practitioners. An ethnographic study will be conducted, incorporating a dual exploration of the embodied reality of selected women throughout pregnancy and delivery, and the perspectives of maternal health staff tasked for caring for these women. Pregnancy and childbirth will be examined as critical processes and events whereby individuals with distinct histories and subjectivities interact within particular settings, negotiating meanings and outcomes. Attention will be paid to the ways in which identity, specific discourses and modes of knowledge and the structuring of maternal health settings define and influence how maternity is perceived, experienced and managed by both women and health staff. Medicalisation will be situated in relation to these various elements. The project is relevant to contemporary debates in the social sciences related to embodiment, maternity, knowledge, power and agency, and also has wider relevance to health policy-makers given the trend of increasing medical intervention during childbirth in Europe.

Researchers from CRIA

IDNamePositionProjTitleProject typeStatus
pub248*Joanna WhiteResearcherproj186*The medicalisation of maternity in Portugal and England: an ethnographic studyResearcher contractConcluded
pub423*Filipa QueirósResearch scholarproj186*The medicalisation of maternity in Portugal and England: an ethnographic studyResearcher contractConcluded
Other researchers

ResearcherPositionInstitutionProjOutrosTitulo_EN