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Language, labour and ideology Constructing epistemologies of childbirth in the first three centuries of English-language midwifery texts (1540–1800)

Whitt, Richard J.

Authors



Contributors

Turo Hiltunen
Editor

Irma Taavitsainen
Editor

Abstract

Writings on midwifery and women’s medicine related to childbirth reflect the many changes affecting this field during the Early Modern period, which in turn reflect changes in epistemological values Through the lens of critical discourse analysis, this paper discusses existing and emergent ideological demarcations between the wide range of midwifery texts published between 1500 and 1800 through a qualitative examination of prefatory material in these texts. It is shown that the earliest midwifery texts make much recourse to the authoritative knowledge of classical authors, following the tradition of medieval Scholasticism. As female midwives enter the textual scene, personal experience and empathy become valued sources of knowledge. Finally, the emergence of ‘man-midwives’ led to scientific prowess combined with personal experience touted as the most superior form of knowledge relating to the care of parturient women.

Citation

Whitt, R. J. (2022). Language, labour and ideology Constructing epistemologies of childbirth in the first three centuries of English-language midwifery texts (1540–1800). In T. Hiltunen, & I. Taavitsainen (Eds.), Corpus Pragmatic Studies on the History of Medical Discourse (179-202). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.330.08whi

Acceptance Date Dec 3, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 15, 2022
Publication Date Jun 15, 2022
Deposit Date Dec 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2023
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing
Pages 179-202
Series Title Pragmatics and Beyond New Series
Series Number 330
Book Title Corpus Pragmatic Studies on the History of Medical Discourse
Chapter Number 8
ISBN 9789027211101
DOI https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.330.08whi
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/5099276
Publisher URL https://benjamins.com/catalog/pbns.330
Related Public URLs https://benjamins.com/catalog/pbns
Additional Information Language, labour and ideology: Constructing epistemologies of childbirth in the first three centuries of English-language midwifery texts (1540-1800) in Corpus Pragmatic Studies on the History of Medical Discourse, edited by Turo Hiltunen and Irma Taavitsainen, pp. 179-202. https://benjamins.com/catalog/pbns.330.08whi