Medicalization Discourse and Modernity: Contested Meanings Over Childbirth in Contemporary Turkey

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Cindoglu D., Sayan-Cengiz F.

HEALTH CARE FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL, vol.31, no.3, pp.221-243, 2010 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/07399330903042831
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.221-243
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: No


In this article, we explore the increasing medicalization of birth and the surge in Caesarean sections in order to examine how this phenomenon relates to the dominant modernization discourse on women's lives in contemporary Turkey. We analyze women's modes of resistance and conformity to medicalization of birth through qualitative data from 15 focus groups of Turkish women as well as from physicians and midwives. We found out that Turkish women generally submit to medicalized birth, despite unpleasent experiences of hospital birth. We argue that the discourse of modernization and traditional patriarchy both play a role in women's submission to medicalization of birth; and we demonstrate the patterns through which these discourses collaborate in establishing the meaning of childbirth in Turkey.