Global health anthropology
NRC-NORGLOBAL Research Project 2016-19


B) Dynamics between national policies and laws, and public and local discourses on sexuality, fertility control and abortion

Component B involves an exploration of current public discourse surrounding fertility control and abortion in media, religious organizations, court rooms, NGOs, etc., and how such discourses play out at the intersection with national policy and law on the one hand, and at the intersection with grassroots discourse on fertility control and abortion on the other: Central research questions related to this component are:

  • How vocal is public discourse on fertility control and abortion, and how does it intersect with national policy and legislation?
  • How do local ideas about fertility, conception and the status of the foetus relate to the wider gender regime as it emerges in discourses on fertility control and abortion in the country?
  • What are the prevailing discourses surrounding masculinities in the field of fertility, fertility control and abortion within public and community discourse?

Focus: These are comparative projects related to national public discourses on fertility control and abortion with a particular focus on the discourse found within media (newspapers, radio, television, internet), religious organisations (including within Christianity, Islam and other), court rooms (documenting concrete cases), NGO based campaigns and youth organizations’ messages on fertility control and safe abortion related topics. The public discourse will in turn be assessed in terms of their articulation both with operational policy texts and with community discourse on fertility control. Potential silences and taboos in public discourses will also be explored.

Methods: Institutional ethnography studying text-based materials, qualitative in depth interviews with key stakeholders combined with selected community-based case studies in each of the three study context to explore community ideas about gendered reproductive behaviour.