Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Sarah Jane Brubaker


This is an exploratory study of women’s childbearing decisions and outcomes in non-medically indicated cesarean section childbirths (CS). Focusing on the structure-agency dichotomy, the research is guided by Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration used in the context of the medicalization framework in order to analyze elements of personal choice and medical jurisdiction in childbearing methods. Quantitative analysis of secondary data and a thematic content analysis of Internet forums are conducted in order to analyze women’s perceptions of autonomy and constraint in their childbearing decisions and outcomes. The findings suggest that the polarization between second- and third wave feminist critiques on medical intervention in childbirth, and between structure and agency, impede our understanding of the complex phenomenon. Applying structuration theory to the medicalization framework helps to work through this polarization, further lending support to third-way feminism.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

Included in

Sociology Commons