Articles on Pregnancy and Birth

The technocratic model of birth

The technocratic model of birth

Robbie E. Davis-Floyd

This chapter appeared in Feminist Theory in the Study of Folklore, eds. Susan Tower Hollis, Linda Pershing, and M. Jane Young, U. of Illinois Press, pp. 297-326, 1993.

“But is the hospital necessary at all?” demanded a young woman of her obstetrician friend. “Why not bring the baby at home?”

“What would you do if your automobile broke down on a country road?” the doctor countered with another question.

“Try and fix it,” said the modern chaffeuse.
“And if you couldn’t?”
“Have it hauled to the nearest garage.”
“Exactly. Where the trained mechanics and their necessary tools are,” agreed the doctor. “It’s the same with the hospital. I can do my best work – and the best we must have in medicine all the time – not in some cramped little apartment or private home, but where I have the proper facilities and trained helpers.

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