The Rhetoric of Midwifery: Gender, Knowledge, and Power

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The Rhetoric of Midwifery offers new insights into issues of gender and power within the context of our present-day medical system. As a point of departure, Mary M. Lay analyzes the public discussion over nonacademically trained--or direct-entry--midwives within Minnesota, particularly the state-held public hearings about licensing traditional midwives between 1991 and 1995.

Lay draws on the testimonies of midwives, home-birth parents, nurses, physicians, and attorneys to illustrate various points of view. In addition, the author details the history of midwifery to highlight ongoing concerns that have surfaced since the profession's inception.

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Editorial Reviews

Lay (rhetoric, U. of Minnesota) presents different points of view and midwifery history and issues encapsulated by Minnesota public hearings (1991-95) on licensing traditional midwives. Appends notes on methodology, hearing participants and chronology, and a glossary of birth terms. Lay formerly directed the UM Center for Advanced Feminist Studies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813527789
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Current Debate over Direct-Entry Midwifery in the United States 1
2 Rhetorical Analysis and the Midwifery Debates 20
3 The Rhetorical History of Midwifery 43
4 The Minnesota Midwifery Study Advisory Group: Professional Jurisdictions and Boundary Spanning 77
5 Licensing Rules and Regulations: Normalizing the Practice of Midwifery 101
6 Jurisdictional Boundaries: Claiming Authority over Scientific Discourse and Knowledge 131
7 Issues of Gender and Power: The Rhetoric of Direct-Entry Midwifery 170
App. A Additional Notes on Methodology and Sources 189
App. B Glossary of Birth Terms 195
App. C Rhetors Involved in the Minnesota Hearings and Chronology of the Hearings 201
Notes 207
Bibliography 219
Index 233
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