Configuring Maternal, Preborn and Infant Embodiment
Sydney Health & Society Group Working Paper No. 2
13 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 13, 2012
A growing literature on the biopolitics of contemporary maternity and on risk society, individualisation and parenting has demonstrated the increasing emphasis that has been placed upon pregnant women and mothers to take responsibility for the health and welfare of their children. The ideal female 'reproductive citizen' is expected to place her children’s health and well-being above her own needs and desires. Here the subject positions of the ‘good mother’ and the ‘responsible citizen’ as they are produced through the discourses and practices of neoliberalism intertwine. This paper looks at the convergence of various influential discourses, images, practices and technologies in configuring maternal, preborn and infant bodies in certain ways in the context of neoliberalism. These include such factors as the growing importance of the concept of risk in relation to preborn and infant wellbeing, the extension of infant identity back into preborn bodies, the emergence of the concepts of the foetal and embryonic (and even the preconceived embryonic) citizen, the precious child and intensive parenting and the symbolic concepts of permeability, purity and danger and self and other as they relate to maternal, infant and preborn embodiment.
Keywords: maternal embodiment, preborn embodiment, infant embodiment, biopolitics, risk society, motherhood, ntensive parenting, children, pregnancy, subjectivity
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