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Title: A Complicated Labor: Telenovelas and Obstetric Care in Brazil
Authors: Stanton, Claire
Advisors: Carvalho, Bruno
Department: Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: This thesis analyzes the representation of birth in novelas and its impact on perceptions of childbirth and obstetric trends in Brazil. It concentrates on novelas aired between 1990 and 2014, as this is the key period in terms of changing obstetric practices, providing an overview of the broad trends in the representation of birth, as well as a close analysis of several scenes that were selected based upon the popularity of the novelas and the representativeness the portrayal. The scenes reveal a consistent dichotomous image of natural birth versus C-section that appears to have both reflected and influenced perceptions of childbirth and trends in obstetric practices in Brazil through an implicit promotion of harmful norms. In the past five years, however, there are several examples of scenes that diverge from this pattern, suggesting that the traditional, uncritical portrayals of birth have begun to shift. These scenes are an indication that novelas are positioning themselves to help repair the dysfunctional obstetric practices they inadvertently promoted, by providing a uniquely accessible and effective platform for important conversations regarding the experience of childbirth and obstetric care. While there continues to be much to be desired in the portrayals of birth in telenovelas, the recent evolution is at the very least a step in the right direction, and has the potential to highlight the complex and crucial implications of obstetric care in Brazil today.
Extent: 60 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Spanish and Portuguese, 2002-2017

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