Autores: Gonçalo D. Santos

Artigo | Santos, G. D., & Zhang, J. (2024). The Rise in Cesarean Births and the Technocratic Medicalization of Childbirth in Late-Reform China. Modern China, 0(0).

Resumo: The surge in cesarean section (CS) deliveries in China over the past several decades has led to significant international discussion, yet critical social science inquiry remains limited. Drawing on insights from sociological and anthropological studies of childbirth, this article moves away from the premise that having a CS is a matter of individual choice. Instead, we treat childbirth as ground zero of a set of complex negotiations between multiple actors, and we show how the biopolitical and politico-economic reconfiguration of the process of childbirth governance from the 1990s onwards has contributed to a dramatic increase in cesarean deliveries. Combining ethnographic materials from China’s rural and urban areas with an analysis of documents and quantitative data, we argue that the surge in CS rates in post-1990s China is part of a larger globalized process of the technocratic medicalization of birth, which has had a profound impact on the normative procedures and conditions shaping the process of childbirth, including the methods and forms of knowledge guiding childbirth management. This has contributed to the increasing normalization of a highly medicalized and interventionist model of childbirth, which has in turn facilitated the routinization of cesarean procedures.