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In France, centers for family planning and education are local, public units where birth control and abortion are offered to women free of charge. Based on an ethnographic research conducted in two units located within the Paris region, this article shows how institutions transform, in practice, women’s bodies and psyches. This coverage indeed encourages new ways of assessing one’s reproductive potential. Birth planning and abortion support, which are feminist projects (discursively and practically speaking), strengthen female agency and reinforce women’s control over themselves, their bodies, and their reproductive capacities. But these projects are also highly political in so far as they promote a process of self-reform through care and support. However, this work that relies on a normative definition of female identity is not only emancipatory. It also produces new discriminatory logics and reinforces racial hierarchies, which –in the French context– raise the question of nationalism and citizenship with regard to reproductory and sexual issues.


  • Institution
  • reproduction
  • affect
  • abortion
  • racialization
Aurore Dupuy
Sébastien Roux
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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