5_Medicalization - A Multi-Dimensional Concept - Ballard and Elston

5_Medicalization - A Multi-Dimensional Concept - Ballard and Elston

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Another critical perspective, in the 1970s, on the putative medical takeover of normal body processes and life events was found in 1970s’ feminists’ analysis of the changing management of women’s reproductive experiences, for example childbirth. From a situation in which, prior to the 20th century, most expectant women did not receive medical attention at any point in the pregnancy, medical advice and intervention related to reproduction are now sought as a matter of course, not only from early in pregnancy, but even before conception. Many second-wave feminists of the 1970s and 1980s attributed this medicalisation of childbirth to medical dominance, regarding medicine as a particularly powerful patriarchal agency exercising undue social control over women’s lives (Oakley, 1984; Bell, 1987). As Oakley states, by developing a conceptual difference between ‘abnormal’ and ‘normal’ pregnancy, the medical profession ‘constructed a schema of pregnancy which systematized what was taken to be the everyday
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