The Gynaecologist’s Gaze: The Inconsistent Medicalisation of Contraception in Contemporary Russia
This essay discusses the medicalisation of contraception by gynaecologists in present-day Russia. I explore the disciplining discourse and tactics of gynaecologists as experts who aim to orient women towards properly planned and prepared pregnancy. Gynaecologists are important agents of reproductive control because they instruct women in detail about reproductive health and contraception. However, these disciplining medical discourses and professional practices are characterised by inconsistency. In accordance with the demographic priorities of the state, doctors are more oriented towards pregnancy treatment than consultation on contraception, and they are inconsistent in their regulation of contraceptive use. This biopolitical regime reflects the demographic priorities of the Russian state – to increase the population of Russia – and the role of women as the primary objects of this policy.