Abstract

abstract:

In the last 100 years, new biomedical technologies altered childbirth practices in China on virtually every level. This transformation was significantly accelerated after the launch of the Birth Planning Policy in 1979. At the turn of the millennium, the government enforced a policy of mandatory hospital births to bring the country closer to United Nations' Millennium Development Goals in terms of maternal and infant health, but these reforms were accompanied by a dramatic increase in cesarean rates. Drawing on oral history materials collected in a rural community in Guangdong province, this article shows how China's cesarean surge gave rise to complex generational frictions in women's techno-moral understandings of what should be the right way to give birth. These generational frictions show that the history of childbirth medicalization is not just a history of changing institutions, policies and technologies; it is also a history of changing technological selves and moral ideals.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 581-616
Launched on MUSE
2020-08-06
Open Access
No
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