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Type: Journal article
Title: Bloodlust: a postcolonial sociology of childbirth
Author: Goodwin-Smith, I.
Citation: Social Identities, 2012; 18(5):521-535
Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1350-4630
Statement of
Ian Goodwin-Smith
Abstract: This paper examines intersections between ethnocentric and androcentric desire. To that end it employs a broadly postcolonial analysis of the medicalisation of birth and of women. The paper explores an ambivalence characterised by a simultaneous lust for and loathing of the other through engaging with postcolonial discourse analysis, and it ties those impulses to an imperative of control and to an administration of the other’s affairs. That imperative and those impulses represent a point at which the logic of patriarchy and the logic of colonialism converge, and that point is one around which the social production of material disadvantage and negative outcomes can be explored. In the service of modern paradigms of progress and development, both colonial discourses and medical discourses underpin material relationships with the other. Whether that other is racialised or gendered, the manifest result of those relationships is the production of outcomes which are sub-optimal and pernicious in effect, and which result in a material insufficiency in the discursively produced other. The process of colonising childbirth reproduces the material effects of colonial subjectivity within a highly ambivalent and deeply imperialistic encounter. An exploration of that process demonstrates a link between power, paternalism and poor outcomes which highlights a space for self-determination in the optimisation of health and wellbeing amongst members of population groups which are vulnerable to the representations and interests of administrative power.
Keywords: Postcolonial; childbirth; pathologisation; desire; discourse sociology
Rights: © 2012 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0020122176
DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2012.667602
Appears in Collections:History publications

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