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Everyday knowledge--body knowledge--knowledge of experience--specialized knowledge: acquisition, assessment and the orientation of logic concerning cultures of knowledge

Everyday knowledge--body knowledge--knowledge of experience--specialized knowledge: acquisition, assessment and the orientation of logic concerning cultures of knowledge

Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 30(2): 119-134

The essay explores changes in the understanding, legitimisation, and practice of midwifery. It was one of the earliest professional activities for women. During the eighteenth century a new culture of expertise emphasized theoretical knowledge and adherence to medical disciplines over the empirical practice gained by women. This early phase of professionalisation, with its hierarchies and preferred use of medically accredited knowledge, was not, however, solely divided along gender lines. Female professionalism was not just supplanted by male academic medicalisation. New ways of attaining and assessing knowledge, a different perception of how it is organised, and above all, social change created new patterns of understanding. This process achieved a new professional ethos. In pursuing the issue of gender, various examples are chosen to illustrate how changes in scientific knowledge and its relevant application are mediated. The construct of scientific knowledge and how it is used reflects gender relations and power structures. There is not only competition between female and male perceptions of knowledge, but also male stereotyping of female knowledge, in particular male notions of what kind of knowledge is necessary and how this is perceived by women. Karen Offen used the term ,knowledge wars' to describe how a monopoly of scientific expertise and relevant knowledge works within the professions.

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Accession: 053092284

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PMID: 18175544

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