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Birth Controlled: Reproductive Choice among Female Graduate Students in Montreal

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Birth Controlled: Reproductive Choice among Female Graduate Students in Montreal

Sears, Shannon (2012) Birth Controlled: Reproductive Choice among Female Graduate Students in Montreal. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Reproduction has been studied extensively in anthropology, yet scholars have focused predominantly on menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth—events which take place for a limited duration (a matter of hours, days, or months) each time a woman experiences them. The reproductive cycle, on the other hand, continues essentially unabated for decades of a woman’s life. It is this largely unexplored area of women’s lived experience, and the contraceptive choices women make with regard to their ongoing fertility, that are addressed in the course of this thesis. Research was conducted through a variety of methods. First, multiple virtual and physical sites of information were examined, including websites, television advertisements, and published materials related to sexual health. Second, three medical professionals and a number of volunteers were interviewed about their perspectives and practices toward sexual education and reproductive health. Third, the methods and activities of a university sexual education volunteer group were observed and analyzed. Finally, eleven women were interviewed regarding their sexual education, history of contraceptive usage, and their perceptions of their fertility and birth control options. Ten of these women also participated in a brief contraceptive questionnaire. This thesis considers the ways that contraception is part of a system that not only provides reproductive power to women, but paradoxically contributes to ignorance of female biological processes, governs birth control choices, and manages women’s fertility. By exploring this system alongside women’s understandings and experiences, I examine the complicated ways that women are, in fact, controlling their reproduction.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Sears, Shannon
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:April 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Cole, Sally
ID Code:973803
Deposited By:SHANNON SEARS
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 15:17
Last Modified:19 Jun 2012 15:17
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