Reluctant re-definition: Medical dominance and the representation of midwifery in CMAJ, 1967-1997

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Winkup, Judith Lynn
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the medical representation of midwifery in the Canadian Medical Association Journal from 1967 to 1997. The recent changes in the status of midwifery in Ontario, Canada inform the presentation of the findings. The theoretical framework for the thesis is social constructionist and as such assumes the medical knowledge, scientific information and illness categories in the journal to be socially constructed by the claims making activities of medicine. A description of the formal characteristics of the representations provides a structural framework for the more in-depth claims making analysis. The themes and patterns of the representation of midwifery that emerged in the journal are consistent with the theoretical model of professional dominance as developed by E Freidson. These findings generally reflect the reluctance of mainstream medicine to accept midwifery as an autonomous profession.

medical representation, midwifery, Canadian Medical Association Journal, themes, patterns