Bodies that Birth: Vitalizing Birth Politics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Bodies that Birth

Vitalizing Birth Politics, 1st Edition

By Rachelle Chadwick


226 pages

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pub: 2018-03-08
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Bodies that Birth puts birthing bodies at the centre of questions about contemporary birth politics, power, and agency. Arguing that the fleshy and embodied aspects of birth have been largely silenced in social science scholarship, Rachelle Chadwick uses an array of birth stories, from diverse race-class demographics, to explore the narrative entanglements between flesh, power, and sociomateriality in relation to birth.

Adopting a unique theoretical framework incorporating new materialism, feminist theory, and a Foucauldian ‘analytics of power’, the book aims to trace and trouble taken-for-granted assumptions about birthing bodies. Through a diffractive and dialogical approach, the analysis highlights the interplay between corporeality, power, and ideologies in the making of birth narratives across a range of intersectional differences. The book shows that there is no singular birthing body apart from sociomaterial relations of power. Instead, birthing bodies are uncertain zones or unpredictable assortments of physiology, flesh, sociomateriality, discourse, and affective flows. At the same time, birthing bodies are located within intra-acting fields of power relations, including biomedicine, racialized patriarchy, socioeconomics, and geopolitics.

Bodies that Birth brings the voices of women from different sociomaterial positions into conversation. Ultimately, the book explores how attending to birthing bodies can vitalize global birth politics by listening to what matters to women in relation to birth. This is fascinating reading for researchers, academics, and students from across the social sciences.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations 1. Opening 2. Birthing Bodies: The Politics of Framing 3. Clockwork Bodies 4. Risky Bodies 5. Violated Bodies 6. Resistant Bodies 7. What Matters? Vitalizing Birth Politics 8. Closing References Appendix 1 Appendix 2

About the Author

Dr Rachelle Chadwick is NRF Research Career Fellow in the Gender Studies Section of the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

About the Series

Women and Psychology

This series brings together current theory and research on women and psychology. Drawing on scholarship from a number of different areas of psychology, it bridges the gap between abstract research and the reality of women's lives by integrating theory and practice, research and policy.

Each book addresses a 'cutting edge' issue of research, covering topics such as postnatal depression and eating disorders, and addressing a wide range of theories and methodologies.

The series provides accessible and concise accounts of key issues in the study of women and psychology, and clearly demonstrates the centrality of psychology debates within women's studies or feminism.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Gynecology & Obstetrics
MEDICAL / Nursing / Maternity, Perinatal, Women's Health
MEDICAL / Reproductive Medicine & Technology
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies