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Planning Quechua Families: Indigenous Subjectivities, Inequalities and Kinship under the Peruvian Family Planning Programme

Irons, Rebecca; (2020) Planning Quechua Families: Indigenous Subjectivities, Inequalities and Kinship under the Peruvian Family Planning Programme. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Quechua people have a fraught history with the Peruvian national family planning (FP) programme, with an estimated 300,000 individuals (forcibly) sterilised during the 1990s Fujimori-government in a biopolitical act that saw indigenous people as less ‘desirable’ and therefore sought to restrict reproduction in this group (Ewig, 2010). The state is now targeting the ‘rural, poor’ (often synonymous with ‘indigenous’) specifically for family planning intervention once more, based on perceived unmet need in this population. Now, for the first time in history, the 2017 national census included a question about identification of indigeneity, further suggesting heightened governmental interest in the demographics of this group. State intervention in Quechua reproductive health is not limited to FP. In 2005 an ‘intercultural birth’ policy was introduced that sought to bring women away from communities and into hospitals through the implementation of ‘Quechua cultural elements’ of birth amongst the biomedical settings. However, it has been argued that this policy was a veiled attempt to alter the subjectivities of Quechua women through an enforced association with biomedicine, thereby ‘whitening’ them (Guerra-Reyes, 2014). Social whitening through biomedicalassociation is well documented in the Andes; for example, women may seek IVF treatment or caesarean scars as proof of their interaction with the ‘whiter’ biomedical environments (Roberts, 2012). Yet, not all Andeans actively seek this racialised subjectivity, and instead may have it forced upon them as an imposition of state ‘coloniality of power’ that hierarchies race in Peru, to the disadvantage of the indigenous (Quijano, 2000). Such reproductive health policies can irreparably disrupt not only corporeal-subjectivity but kinship relations (Berry, 2010), inalterably affecting subjectivities at multiple levels. Through an ethnographic investigation into the contemporary FP programme offered to low-income Quechua women free-of-charge in a health-network in rural Ayacucho, this timely study interrogates if/how, through biomedical FP, the Peruvian state influences indigenous subjectivity, inequalities, and kinship.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Planning Quechua Families: Indigenous Subjectivities, Inequalities and Kinship under the Peruvian Family Planning Programme
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097353
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