Medicalization and Women's Knowledge: the Construction of Understandings of Infant Feeding Experiences in Post-WW II New Zealand

Authors: Ryan, K. and Grace, V.M.

Journal: Health Care For Women International

Volume: 22

Pages: 483-500

ISSN: 0739-9332

DOI: 10.1080/073993301317094308


For most of the twentieth century infant feeding knowledge has been constructed by medical scientists and health professionals. However, for a short time around the 1970s, New Zealand women (re)claimed the power to author their own knowledge based upon experience. This coincided with a dramatic return to breastfeeding on a national scale. Using New Zealand women's narratives of their infant feeding experiences over the past 50 years, this article brings to the foreground the importance of women's subjective construction of knowledge, their positioning within it, and the suppression of rudimentary discourses when that power is removed or relinquished in the process of remedicalization.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Kath Ryan

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