Accepted Paper:

Refiguring childbirth: the logic of maternity care and the logic of women's reproductive choice in Taiwan  

Author:

Li-Wen Shih (Taipei Medical University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to explore Taiwanese maternity care practice. It will focus on Taiwanese women’s experience of childbirth in hospital, and how these experiences affect women’s reproductive choices.

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to explore Taiwanese maternity care practice. It will focus on Taiwanese women's experience of childbirth in hospital. Women's experience of maternity care has been one of the main concerns in feminist technoscience studies. Many feminists criticize the dominance of the obstetric knowledge and practice with its medical interventions, while others focus on women's need for women-centered maternity care. To go beyond these discussions, this paper conducts fieldwork in Taiwan in order to provide an account of women's experience of childbirth. Since 1995, most prenatal and intrapartum care in Taiwan has been provided by obstetricians. In 2014, the Taiwanese Health Department announced an 'enhancement pilot on humanization of birth' in six hospitals in Taiwan in an attempt to find ways of reducing the increased medicalization of care. Based on empirical data, interviews, participant observations in the hospital and drawings from participants describing what childbirth is for them, this paper discusses how Taiwanese maternity care is practised after midwifery has been introduced to the obstetric ward, how women experience this, and how these experiences affect women's reproductive choices. Inspired by Annemarie Mol's (2008) work on the logic of care and also Charis Thompson's (2005) ontological choreography, this paper employs their material-semiotic approach to trace actors in the maternity care network. It will focus on understanding the logic of the maternity care practice, and on how women's body as a mediator is rearticulating and reshaping professional discursive practices.

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice