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    Constructing female sexual and reproductive agency in mental capacity law

    Kong, Camillia (2019) Constructing female sexual and reproductive agency in mental capacity law. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 66 , p. 101488. ISSN 0160-2527.

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    Respect for the sexual, reproductive, and relational choices of women with learning disabilities remains unrealised to date, despite the autonomy-based focus of mental capacity law in England and Wales as well as the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Instead, such women appear trapped within a triple-bind – where they not only act in ways that might reinforce oppressive norms around gender and disability, but they are mentally incapable of even making such self-subjugating choices. The triple-bind emerges for two reasons: first, learning disability is understood as an essentialist property that determines action; second, the normative logic of feminism and the social model of disability is bound to the binary between emancipation – subjugation, which excludes the nuanced and ambiguous agency of women with learning disabilities as a result. What is needed instead is an alternative framework of female agency that can accommodate a mode of ambivalence, indifference, inhabitation, and at times, complicity – in other words, instances where women make choices that appear contrary to their emancipation from disabling, patriarchal norms or relationships. Women with learning disabilities navigate a complex nexus of norms, power relations, and relational connections, some of which are coercive and oppressive, yet simultaneously subjectively affirming and enabling. I argue for an alternative analytical framework of female agency in order to accommodate how women with learning disabilities undertake the complex negotiation of power and social norms, as well as render visible their agency in their sexual, relational, and reproductive choices.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Crime & Justice Policy Research, Institute for
    Depositing User: Camillia Kong
    Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2019 14:11
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:53


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