Unsupportable pregnancies and reproductive justice: a transnational comparison

Research objectives: to investigate, in three distinct social and political contexts (United Kingdom, South Africa, Zimbabwe), the narratives of women with unsupportable# pregnancies regarding the biological, emotional, social, familial, political, health care and other circumstances surrounding their pregnancies; to compare these narratives to those of family members and health service providers; to link these narratives to the social discourses, social structures and power relations that facilitate or constrain reproductive (in)justice.

Nature of the project: Multi-institutional (RU, University of Greenwich, UK), multi-disciplinary project. 

Methodology: Narrative interviews will be conducted with women, family members (where feasible), and health service providers; narrative-discursive analysis will be used to analyse the data.

# The signifier ‘unsupportable’ is used in preference to ‘unwanted’; the former denotes a pregnancy that is difficult for a variety of reasons while the latter suggests a liberal subjectivity in which a range of desires and choices are possible.

Pre-termination of pregnancy counselling

Research objectives: to compare pre-termination of pregnancy counselling in two countries in which abortion is legal (South Africa and United Kingdom); to investigate how counsellors manage these sensitive interactions – with a focus on information provision and decision-making.

Nature of project: multi-institutional (RU, University of York), multi-disciplinary (Psychology, Politics, Sociology).

Methodology: Pre-termination of pregnancy counselling sessions will be recorded; data will be analysed using conversation analysis.

Public Discourses on Abortion

Research objectives: to elucidate the range of discursive events (dynamic, contradictory and constantly reproduced) emerging in a variety of public statements (from written texts to public talk) concerning abortion in South Africa; to examine how constructions of abortion have changed over time, the power relations emanating from the complex process of the multiple constructions of abortion, the prescriptive effects of these constructions regarding how women and service providers should act, and the codifying effects of what can be known about abortion and its effects.

Nature of the project: This major project, started in 2003, is on-going. The project was initially funded for five years by the National Research Foundation and is currently funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Focus Area. It is based in the Departments of Psychology and Politics at RU.

Methodology: Text has been, and will be, collected from public documents (newspapers, Hansard, web-sites, policy documents) and focus group discussions; critical discourse analysis has been, and will be, used to analyse the data.


Last Modified: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 11:41:14 SAST