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Construction, Control and Family Planning in Tanzania: Some Bodies the Same and Some Bodies Different

L. A. Richey
Feminist Review
No. 78, Empirical interrogations: Gender, 'race' and class (2004), pp. 56-79
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3874406
Page Count: 24
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Construction, Control and Family Planning in Tanzania: Some Bodies the Same and Some Bodies Different
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Abstract

The benefits of family planning for those who desire it, and the possibilities of coercion against those who do not, are well-known aspects of international population policies. Family planning technologies, more than simply a means for preventing conception, are involved as identity artefacts in the construction of bodies and in the reproduction of power relations. As such, modern contraceptives, organized by and implemented through, donor-funded programmes constitute a discursive apparatus through which scattered hegemonies are disseminated. Women's use of family planning, traditional and modern, allows them to counter the expectations of these hegemonies at some times, and to embody them at others. Both service providers and clients, construct identities, referenced through women's bodies, using the discourses of international population control and family planning. This paper uses data collected in Tanzania to understand how notions of modernity in the family planning programme construct Tanzanian female bodies as 'traditional' and 'modern', how these discursive inequalities reflect and compound material disparities and how these logics come into play in the ways that women construct themselves and each other.

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