Infant feeding: Medicalization, the state and techniques of the body

K Qureshi, E Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines infant feeding in relation to three core concerns: its medicalization, normalization by technologies of the state, and its expression through techniques of the body. This three-tiered focus allows for a respective focus on how medicine exercises authority over spheres of life not previously considered medical; the internalisation of the state's disciplinary regimes and their perpetuation through the use of normalising judgement in practice; and the minute practices of everyday infant nurture, and what these say about the development of specific types of people. In so doing, we build on a stream of feminist scholarship on infant feeding since the 1980s, but we also diverge, in that our focus is not only breastfeeding but more broadly the nourishment of infants — be this from the mother's breasts, or through lactational surrogacy, including wet-nursing and milk sharing as well as infant milks derived from other sources, animal or vegetable. To this, we expand our view beyond milks to include the feeding of other foodstuffs and the absorption of nourishment through other-than-oral nourishing practices. In so doing, we highlight the epistemologies that underscore these practices, and problematize the ontological premises of the concept of nurture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Early online date19 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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