Confinements: Fertility and Infertility in Contemporary Culture, by Helena Michie, Naomi Cahn

Confinements: Fertility and Infertility in Contemporary Culture

by Helena Michie, with Naomi Cahn

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Format: Paperback, 1st ed., 224pp. 
ISBN: 0813524334
Publisher: Rutgers University Press 
Pub. Date: July 1997

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When a woman in the United States becomes pregnant or tries to .become pregnant, she enters a world of information, technology, and expertise. Suddenly her body becomes public in a new way: medicine, law, and popular culture all offer her sometimes contradictory "expert" advice. Confinements explores the advice offered to pregnant and infertile women by examining assumptions about femininity, class, and the reproductive body that structure the language of expertise. Even advice books written from a specifically countercultural or feminist point of view often attempt to police the way women think about their bodies.

Confinements argues that our perceptions about both pregnancy and infertility are limited by our culture's battles over the meaning of choice and control, arguments over what is natural or unnatural, and the troubled relationship between reproduction and the domestic sphere. The book breaks new ground in its analysis of gender, health, and reproduction. -- The first book to analyze the rhetoric of contemporary advice books on reproduction, with special attention to race and class. -- The first book to show how the contemporary rhetoric about pregnancy and infertility are linked. -- The authors' personal experiences, included in the text, make the book accessible to all readers.

Table of Contents


Introduction   1

Ch. 1 Confinements   17

Closer to Home: The Domestic in the Discourses of Upper-Middle Class Pregnacy   17

Confinement Outside the Home: The Institutionalization of Pregnant, Crack-Addicted Women   31

Ch. 2 Unnatural Births: Cesarian Sections and Pain Management in the Natural Childbirth Movement   45

Ch. 3 Making Choices, Making Babies   69

Ch. 4 Displacements   95

Ch. 5 The Nature of Infertility   119

Ch. 6 Autonomy, Control, and Fertility   137

Conclusion: Advice about Advice   163

Notes   167

Works Cited   171

Index   179

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