Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/113705
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Type: Journal article
Title: ‘I cannot explain it. I knew it was wrong’: a public account of cigarette smoking in pregnancy
Author: Hodgetts, K.
Crabb, S.
Citation: Critical Public Health, 2018; 28(4):450-459
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0958-1596
1469-3682
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Katherine Hodgetts and Shona Helen Crabb
Abstract: In this paper, we examine a situated example of the media’s (re)production of shared understandings around smoking, pregnancy and health. Through a discursive lens, we address the way in which Australian media personality Chrissie Swan accounted, on radio, for her continued smoking while pregnant after photographic evidence of her tobacco use entered the public domain. We argue that Swan’s account of her smoking privileges a version of ‘the good mother’ as solely responsible for the health of her foetus, and right to feel ashamed when putting this at risk. A construction of smoking as a (medicalised, irrational) addiction enables her to manage a positive identity in the face of this construction: she presents as being ‘thwarted’ in her quitting efforts by a force beyond her control. Ultimately, we argue that the version of ‘good motherhood’ constructed in Swan’s account is paradoxical, and may serve both to support, and constrain, pregnant smokers’ capacity to sustain quitting behaviours over the long term. In turn, we argue that ‘moralising’ anti-smoking interventions aimed at pregnant women may be less useful than an approach that interrogates the range of socio-cultural expectations of ‘good motherhood’ by which pregnant women are simultaneously positioned.
Keywords: Mother blame; pregnancy; smoking; discourse
Rights: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
RMID: 0030094016
DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2017.1359405
Appears in Collections:Public Health publications

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