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The Postconventional Body: Retheorising Women's Health
Queens University, Belfast.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9360-0931
University of Toronto.
2009 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 69, no 2, 293-300 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We propose that women's health-both theory and practice-is a powerful arena in which to re-align and change the modernist theoretical underpinnings of current biomedical paradigms, which limit our understanding both of concepts of health and illness and of the impact of health care technologies on the body. We highlight the necessity of a move to a more dynamic paradigm for health and illness in the clinic, as well as a theoretical fluidity that allows for the real messiness of lived bodies. We argue that postmodernist thought, within wider feminist theory, is one of many perspectives that can contribute to contemporary biomedicine by providing theoretical underpinnings to develop 1) an understanding of bodies in context, 2) an epistemology of ignorance, and 3) an openness to the risk of the unknown. While these all entail a commitment to self-reflection and a willingness to be unsettled, which may not seem practical in the context of medical practice, we argue that self-reflection and unsettledness will provide pathways for grappling with chronic conditions and global bodies. Overall, we suggest that women's health practice can serve as a site in which both sides of the humanistic/scientific divide can engage with a human self in all its corporeal variety, contingency, and instability. More specifically, by providing a space within the clinic to examine underlying ontological, epistemological, and ethical assumptions, women's health can continue to contribute to new forms of biomedical practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2009. Vol. 69, no 2, 293-300 p.
Keyword [en]
Women's health; Bioscience; Postmodernism; Sex/gender; Bioethics; Feminist theory; Embodiment
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81686DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.04.027PubMedID: 19487061OAI: diva2:555684
Available from: 2012-09-21 Created: 2012-09-20 Last updated: 2014-02-07

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Shildrick, Margrit
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