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Matter over mind?: examining the experience of pregnancy

Warren, Samantha and Brewis, Joanna 2004. Matter over mind?: examining the experience of pregnancy. Sociology 38 (2) , pp. 219-236. 10.1177/0038038504040860

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Data collected from interviews with mothers and one mother-to-be characterized pregnancy as a time during which a woman has little jurisdiction over her body.Some respondents found this loss of control discomfiting and unpleasant, but others told of how much they had enjoyed their pregnancies for the same reason. On this basis, we suggest that pregnancy may represent a specific ‘body episode’ which belies the modern Western conviction that we have and possess our bodies and are able to mould them accordingly. Second, we propose that its physical transitions provided for some informants a disturbing testament to the fact that our influence over our bodies is in fact incomplete – that they are in many ways obdurate and ‘wayward’. Third, we suggest that the more positive descriptions of pregnancy could be attributed to the demands of the ‘body project’, the efforts that women especially invest in sculpting their bodies in culturally acceptable ways. Pregnancy therefore may represent for some women an opportunity to luxuriate in their materiality, because during this period they are unable to govern their bodies in the ways to which they are accustomed in more mundane physical circumstances.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Body, cultural, mind, natural, pregnancy, project
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0038-0385
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 03:53

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