The technocratic body :

American Childbirth as Cultural Expression

This article appeared in Social Science and Medicine 38(8):1125-1140, 1994


The dominant mythology of a culture is often displayed in the rituals with which it surrounds birth. In contemporary Western society, that mythology–the mythology of the technocracy–is enacted through obstetrical procedures, the rituals of hospital birth. This article explores the links between our culture’s mythological technocratic model of birth and the body images, individual belief and value systems, and birth choices of forty middle-class women–32
professional women who accept the technocratic paradigm, and eight homebirthers who reject it.

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