Psychiatry, Sex, and Science: The Making of "Adolescent" Motherhood in Southern Brazil.

Béhague, DP; (2017) Psychiatry, Sex, and Science: The Making of "Adolescent" Motherhood in Southern Brazil. Medical anthropology. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0145-9740 DOI:

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Research linking teen motherhood to psychoneurodevelopmental causes and pathologies has proliferated in the past two decades. In Brazil, a psychodevelopmental project of teen motherhood has gained traction despite many experts' long-standing commitment to psychodynamic psychiatry and social epidemiology, generating epistemic tension rather than substitution. Drawing on historical ethnography conducted in Southern Brazil, I explore how this project materialized through the co-production of epistemic struggles, remedial interventions, and ontological politics. In showing how this co-production became interwoven with incremental changes in young women's emotions, sexualities, relationships, and bodies, I describe how one particular "kind" of teen motherhood emerged and became entangled with both psychiatric knowledge-production and the angst of working-class political agency. In giving women a contested psychiatric language with which to rework their social-moral worlds, I argue that science did more than conceptualize teen childbearing in pathological terms; it contributed to its troubled transformation.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
PubMed ID: 28453300


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