190 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:25 Oct 2019
Release Date:25 Oct 2019
Rethinking Feminist Debates about Healthcare
Rutgers University Press
Medical Entanglements uses intersectional feminist, queer, and crip theory to move beyond “for or against” approaches to medical intervention. Using a series of case studies – sex-confirmation surgery, pharmaceutical treatments for sexual dissatisfaction, and weight loss interventions – the book argues that, because of systemic inequality, most mainstream medical interventions will simultaneously reinforce social inequality and alleviate some individual suffering. The book demonstrates that there is no way to think ourselves out of this conundrum as the contradictions are a product of unjust systems. Thus, Gupta argues that feminist activists and theorists should allow individuals to choose whether to use a particular intervention, while directing their social justice efforts at dismantling systems of oppression and at ensuring that all people, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, class, or ability, have access to the basic resources required to flourish.
Modern biomedicine presents us with a growing number of socially and ethically troubling situations, where there is always a temptation to seek a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ solution. In this important book, and with theoretical sophistication and supported by detailed case studies, Gupta shows the most ethical way forward may be acceptance that difficulties are only imperfectly resolvable, entangled as they are in broader systems of injustice. She argues with skill and imagination for a different approach, framed by a different language, to feminist thinking about healthcare.
Medical Entanglements is required reading for anyone interested in the feminist stakes of biomedical interventions. Provocatively insisting that “medicine isn’t special,” Gupta reimagines the terrain of sexual pharmaceuticals, gender affirmation procedures, and weight loss technologies, providing fresh insights about how all three can be sites of survival, well-being, and even flourishing. Gupta’s writing is clear, her arguments comprehensive, and her suggestions for how we get from A to B are a sensible companion in these urgent times.
Kristina Gupta is an assistant professor of women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is co-editor of Queer Feminist Science Studies.
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