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De-constructing 'choice': the social imperative and women's use of the birth control pill

De-constructing 'choice': the social imperative and women's use of the birth control pill

Culture Health and Sexuality 9(1): 43-54

This paper examines the social construction of 'choice' in women's use of the oral contraceptive birth control pill. Using social and historical critiques of neo-liberalism, it is argued that the contemporary priority placed on 'choice' positions women in contradictory ways-requiring them to be both 'choosing' reproductive subjects and reproductive subjects with very few options. The paper works to de-construct contemporary understandings of choice and finds that women's use of the birth control pill is less an exercise of idealized individual agency than it is an act of repetition, tied to ambiguity around what a lived experience of choice might be. To elaborate elements of the theoretical discussion, findings from a qualitative study of women's use of the oral contraceptive are discussed. These reveal that women's articulations of 'choice' challenge the notion of genuinely available and viable alternatives for women, and demonstrate how the use of a technology can silence understandings of contraception as something other than an individual responsibility.

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Accession: 052452154

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17364713

DOI: 10.1080/13691050600963948

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