Relative bodies of knowledge: therapeutic dualism and maternal-foetal individuation

Meurk, Carla, Broom, Alex and Adams, Jon (2014) Relative bodies of knowledge: therapeutic dualism and maternal-foetal individuation. Social Theory and Health, 12 2: 159-178. doi:10.1057/sth.2013.26

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads

Author Meurk, Carla
Broom, Alex
Adams, Jon
Title Relative bodies of knowledge: therapeutic dualism and maternal-foetal individuation
Journal name Social Theory and Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1477-822X
Publication date 2014-05-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1057/sth.2013.26
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Start page 159
End page 178
Total pages 20
Place of publication Basingstoke, Hants, United Kingdom
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Language eng
Subject 3306 Health (social science)
3312 Sociology and Political Science
Abstract A strong body of knowledge attests to the fact that Australian women are using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at increasing rates. However, use of CAM in the context of maternity care is variable and distinctive because of heightened sensitivity to risk and the complexities that arise in managing maternal and foetal well-being concurrently. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 40 women who had recently given birth residing in a major city in Australia, we trace their use of CAM and biomedicine through a sequence of important health-care events during their pregnancies and up until the point of labour. We show that these women's engagement with CAM and biomedicine depicts a pattern whereby CAM is used to ensure the women's well-being while biomedicine is used to ensure a safe and healthy baby. We employ the concept of therapeutic dualism to analyse how this form of medical pluralism reproduces contemporary forms of pregnant embodiment - specifically the ontological separation of mother and foetus. However, we also highlight how this dualism is inexact. That is, bodies of medical knowledge may be separated and combined at specific points during pregnancy, and so too can the foetal and maternal body.
Keyword Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
Therapeutic pluralism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Social Science Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 20 May 2014, 11:56:24 EST by System User on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research