International Workshop: « Medicalized » Childbirth as a Public Problem, 29-30 Septembre 2016 à l’EHESS-Raspail
Sezin Topçu (CEMS/IMM-CNRS-EHESS)
Ilana Löwy (Cermes3-INSERM-EHESS)
LabEx TEPSIS – EHESS – Centre d’étude des mouvements sociaux – CEMS, Institut Marcel Mauss – IMM, Labex TEPSIS
Obstetrical knowledge, technologies and practices have dramatically transformed women’s reproductive experiences worldwide. Medicalization of childbirth was accelerated in the 20th century by the displacement of childbirth from home to the hospital, and by the generalization of surgical techniques and pharmaceutical products. Medical interventionism took multiple, situated forms. Some countries (Brazil, China, Mexico, Turkey, Italy) normalized C-sections as a no-risk and no-pain alternative to “natural” birth; others, like France and Québec, generalized the use of epidural anesthesia; in many contexts, the induction of labor, its acceleration by oxytocin, and episiotomy became routinely employed techniques.
By the late 20th century, the “overmedicalization of childbirth” became a public problem. Critical voices that denounce the excesses of medical interventionism are, indeed, highly heterogeneous. They include, e.g., radical critique of technology and of medicine as an institution; a fierce defense of “natural” birth, often linked with the rejection of obstetrical techniques and instruments; a focus on the political and organizational aspects of childbirth; or a distinction between “justified” and “unjustified” applications of medical interventions and the rejection of the latter. Critiques of “technological drift” in childbirth are always situated. Obstetrical technologies can be framed in numerous ways, and have multiple meanings. While some Western feminists present intensive medicalization of childbirth as an oppressive and authoritarian meddling in a natural process; in countries in which many women do not have access to good quality health care, control of labor pain can be framed as a class privilege. Lire la suite
29-30 September 2016
105 Boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris