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Social Anthropology: News


Leah Eades wins Graduate Student Paper Award

Edinburgh's PhD student Leah Eades has won the Council on Anthropology & Reproduction 2019 Graduate Paper Award.

The paper is based on Leah's MSc research, but links to her current PhD research on abortion liberalisation in Ireland. Details of the paper below:

TITLE: Negotiating Medicalisation: Exploring Dynamics of Medicalisation and Demedicalisation in English Abortion Activism

ABSTRACT: The following study comprises an ethnographic exploration of the ways in which English abortion activists engage with processes of medicalisation and demedicalisation, based on seven weeks of original fieldwork with self-described “pro-life” and “pro-choice” groups in London, UK. Historically, there has been a tendency in the social science literature to conceptualise medicalisation and demedicalisation as distinct, unilinear states – a way of thinking that has led some to consider abortion fully and unproblematically medicalised in contemporary Britain. This research aims to tease out the dynamic aspects of medicalisation and demedicalisation. By working with activists on both sides of the so-called “abortion debate”, I illustrate how actors with opposing ideologies selectively and strategically employ and resist medicalised notions of abortion and associated identities and spaces. In so doing, I promote a more nuanced conceptualisation of medicalisation that constructs it as an instable, contested process that is negotiated by multiple actors across multiple dimensions and scales. 

Freshers 2013