Reproduction, Women and the ‘Body Politic’ of Demographic Knowledge

Susan McDaniel, University of Windsor

Bodies as socially created through societal dynamics, tell stories, life stories. They are more than passive bits of ectoplasm overlaid with social meanings. Recognizing women’s bodies as sites for knowledge where social and political scripts are enacted is vital for understanding both the demographic processes of reproduction and the politics of demographic knowledge. This paper relies on three methodological approaches: 1) a systematic examination of how demography sees women’s bodies in reproduction; 2) a qualitative study of older women looking back on their reproductive lives and reflecting on reproductive experiences in relation to their bodies; and 3) an examination of some key policies in Canada and the United States with respect to reproductive access and constraint, to see how policies differently create and control reproductive bodies. Findings from the parallel analyses are then brought together to shed new light on the processes of demographic knowledge construction.

  See paper

Presented in Session 151: Gender and Reproduction