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Médicaliser au féminin : quand la médecine occidentale rencontre la maternité en Chine du Sud, 1879-1938

Abstract : This thesis examines the medicalization of maternity in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong between 1879 and 1938. By exploring this phenomenon through the medical missionary work carried out in the region, this analysis tries to understand how the medical care of the Chinese parturients and mothers was implemented on the ground, alongside or outside the limited government policies of the time. It highlights the local manifestations of this process and examine it from the perspective of those who are most involved: the women.The Christian missionaries in Guangdong, especially those belonging to the American Presbyterian Mission, hoped to convert the female population and developed care services that met the Chinese social norms and expectations of gender segregation. In specialized or adapted health facilities, they also organized maternity hospitals, as well as maternal and child health services, which aimed to extend the care before and after delivery. While their efforts may have been partially hampered by the doubly-subordinate position of women in Confucian social organization, the missionaries encountered more than one Chinese society in the south of the country. Some local features may have facilitated their efforts to bring Western medicine to the population.Being less subject to gender segregation and more involved in the family economy than other Chinese women, many women in Guangdong completed medical and nursing training in mission programs. As a result, the medical profession experienced a genuine feminization and sinicization. Moreover, this region of the world proved to be much more conducive to social innovation and women's emancipation than some of the Western countries from which the missionaries came. As the main driving forces in the medicalization of maternity, women (both professionals and non professionals, as caregivers or as patients), did not just passively receive and accept the norms, knowledges and practices of Western medicine. Rather, they negotiated them on the basis of their own socio-cultural values and, by doing so, helped to reshape their contours. In this way, medicalization became, at the same time, a process of naturalization.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 10:08:43 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 11:34:12 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01668534, version 1


Kim Girouard. Médicaliser au féminin : quand la médecine occidentale rencontre la maternité en Chine du Sud, 1879-1938. Histoire. Université de Lyon, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEN062⟩. ⟨tel-01668534⟩



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