Beyond the Simple Economics of Cesarean Section Birthing: Women's Resistance to Social Inequality

Abstract

This research explored the reasons for women's preferences for cesarean section births in Pelotas, Brazil. It is argued that women strategize and appropriate both medical knowledge and the technology of caesarean sections as a creative form of responding to larger public debates (and the practices that produced them) on the need for and causes of (de)medicalization. Questioning the reasons why some women engage more actively in this process than others elucidates the ways local forms of power engage gender, economic and medical ideologies. The current debate on why some women prefer c-section deliveries, or indeed if they really do at all, has diverted attention from the utility of the technology itself. This paper argues that for some women, the effort to medicalize the birth process represents a practical solution to problems found within the medical system itself. I end by exploring the socio-biological conditions that have produced a need for the technology.

Citation

Behague, D.P. Beyond the Simple Economics of Cesarean Section Birthing: Women’s Resistance to Social Inequality. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry (2002) 26 (4) 473-507. [DOI: 10.1023/A:1021730318217]

Beyond the Simple Economics of Cesarean Section Birthing: Women’s Resistance to Social Inequality

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