Weare, A.M., Walkner, T.J., Tully, M.
State of intervention: community stakeholder discourse on teen childbearing in Iowa
(2019) Critical Public Health, 29 (2), pp. 205-214.
The state of teen childbearing in Iowa (USA) is positioned by community leaders as a discursive battleground for intervention. In 2015 meetings with community stakeholders, participants framed ‘culture’ (which they defined as ethnicity and religion) as a barrier in decreasing the state’s teen pregnancy rate and increasing girls’ economic self-sufficiency. The childbearing teen body was, unsurprisingly, portrayed as a public health problem in need of organizational intervention. But how participants linked ‘culture’ to neoliberal ideals was surprising and specific. Utilizing McRobbie’s concept of the ‘real self’ and Foucault’s explication of governmentality, this study draws out the role of neoliberal self-sufficiency in grooming teens to perform adolescent femininity and self-govern. In doing so, it considers community stakeholders’ meaning-making processes. Findings show the interventionist discourse does more than attempt to prevent early pregnancy: it reinforces acceptable and unacceptable pregnant bodies and compels community leaders and practitioners to govern childbearing teen bodies in precise ways. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
community; culture; girls; real me; Teen pregnancy
adolescent, adult, article, female, femininity, first trimester pregnancy, girl, grooming, human, human experiment, Iowa, leadership, physician