Lost in Translation: Managing Medicalised Motherhood in Post-world War Two Australian Migrant Accommodation Centres


Agutter, Karen, and Catherine Kevin. 2018. "Lost in Translation: Managing Medicalised Motherhood in Post-world War Two Australian Migrant Accommodation Centres." Women's History Review 27 (7): 1065-84.

Authors: Karen Agutter, Catherine Kevin


Women who began their lives as ‘New Australians’ in migrant centres, arriving from refugee camps and war-ravaged homelands, brought with them a range of interpretations of good health and its management. In post-WWII Australia, the medicalisation of maternity and infant welfare intensified in the context of a renewed anxiety about population and recent medical developments. This article investigates the systems and quality of care given to pregnant women, infants and new mothers in government funded accommodation centres. This care was delivered in the highly politicised context of a mass migration scheme sold to the host population as coming at minimum social and economic cost. We assess the impact of this political context on the care that was provided and reveal health care settings to be crucial sites for the examination of the complex biopolitics of gendered citizenship within the mass migration scheme.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Gender, Health, Reproductive Health, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2018

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