I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse! Fosterdiagnostik som ledelsesteknologi

Jacob Messerschmidt

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This master thesis provides insight to how prenatal diagnosis can be seen as a power technology. In 2003 the Danish Health Agency gave access to all pregnant women to use prenatal diagnosis. The Health Agency’s explained that through the prenatal diagnosis, the pregnant woman could make her own choice whether or not she wanted to keep a foetus with Downs Syndrome. The choice was articulated as an informed choice, made possible by neutral information. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s conceptual understanding of technologies and power, the master thesis has analyzed how the power relations and the creation of subjects through the prenatal diagnoses as a technology can be observed as a bio-power mechanism, which govern the subject to self-government. The master thesis concludes that the pregnant woman is constructed as a responsible subject who wants to know all she can about her foetus. Hence the pregnant should be worried about the risk for her foetus to suffer from Downs Syndrome. Therefore as a responsible individual the pregnant woman can’t avoid to make a stance whether or not she wants to use the prenatal diagnosis technology. Being happily unaware is no longer an option. The pregnant woman is hereby caught in a normalization that dictates that if she wants to perceive herself as a responsible individual and govern her own life she must get real knowledge about the risk for her foetus to suffer from Downs Syndrome. And this can only happen through the prenatal diagnoses technology. The technology is therefore perceived as an offer she can’t refuse. And if the technology should show that something is amiss the pregnant woman knows that the responsible individual wouldn’t deliberately choose a sick child. Through the constructed of health as a norm, it gets very difficult to choose the sick. But through the use of prenatal diagnosing the pregnant woman takes control of the governing of herself not only by observing herself as a responsible subject but also by observing herself as a mother rather than a pregnant woman. In this sense the technology constructs not only the pregnant woman as a mother, but also the foetus as a child, and the health professional not only as a person who governs the pregnant woman to self-government but also as a provider of a non-health related technology.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2012
Number of pages83