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The Fetishised Fetus: Creating 'Life' with Ultrasound


Nash, M, The Fetishised Fetus: Creating 'Life' with Ultrasound, Traffic pp. 49-70. ISSN 1447-2538 (2012) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

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Copyright 2005 University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association (GSA)

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The tendency of the public and medical institutions to perceive fetuses as human is a problematic development because it has the potential to privilege fetuses over women. There is no question that the fetus as subject has been of historical importance. Whereas personhood was once gained through the social world, in Western contemporary society both mothers and fetuses establish identities through reproductive technology and technoscience. As childbirth is an embodied, deeply personal experience for women, I interrogate the emergence of the fetishised public fetus and the postmodern, technologised pregnant female body from which the fetus emerges. I argue that visualisation of the fetus has transformed the relationship between mother and child in the areas of consumerism, commodification of childhood and public health campaigns. As the fetus is enfranchised as an equal participant in society through ultrasound visualisation, I contend that this form of reproductive technology creates a new paradigm for understanding fetal personhood.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Women's and maternal health
UTAS Author:Nash, M (Associate Professor Meredith Nash)
ID Code:77445
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2012-04-16
Last Modified:2017-09-26
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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