Governing the Female Body

Gender, Health, and Networks of Power

Lori Reed & Paula Saukko 2010

E-Book: 323 English Pages

Price: Free

Download: Governing the Female Body: Gender, Health, and Networks of Power (Reed & Saukko 2010).

A feminist and Foucauldian analysis of a variety of emerging gendered discourses.

Drawing on Foucault’s notion of governmentality, this collection explores relations between the intimate governance of bodies and political governance. The contributors offer empirically grounded yet theoretically sophisticated case studies showing how gendered, racialized, and socioeconomic agendas structure medical and scientific practices. Developing and utilizing a poststructuralist feminist framework, the chapters investigate emerging gendered discourses and practices around health, such as breast cancer charities, lifestyle genetic testing, new reproductive technologies, and the development and marketing of various psychotropic and hormonal drugs. This will be a key reader for anyone interested in the social implications of cutting-edge medical technologies.


“This volume is an exciting exploration … [it] draws together a suitably diverse range of case studies to critically highlight the variety of ways in which gender and the female body are constituted as objects of knowledge and are also subject to government through discourses and practices related to health care … It demands that the gendered nature of power becomes subject to renewed critical scrutiny.” Foucault Studies

“This book brings together an important range of contemporary topics and examines an understanding of women’s bodies, governmentality, and power through different social processes and concepts with relevant examples … One of the strongest aspects of this book is its demonstration that women’s bodies are subject to powerful discourses within the theaters of health and medicine in institutional settings as well as in everyday life.” — H-Net Reviews (H-Histsex)

“The essays in this collection argue for a richer understanding of personal choice and clearly point to the ways women’s choices and understandings of body and ‘self’ are mitigated by social forces. This is an important work for scholars of women’s studies and science and technology studies.” ­— April Herndon, Winona State University


Amy Lind is Mary Ellen Heintz Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati.