“The term technocracy implies use of an ideology of technological progress as a source of political power. It thus expresses not only the technological but also the hierarchical, bureaucratic and autocratic dimensions of this culturally dominant reality model—dimensions that are immediately visible in many realms of post-industrial American life.”
Davis-Floyd goes on to state:
Through reading the book, I've also come to have a greater understanding of why women are so steeped in our culture and why non-technocratic birth is unlikely (as 98% of women in the US give birth to babies in the hospital, and only 1% birth at home). Indeed, when as I became a mother, I too felt the obligation to follow the dominant culture. If only I had know the historical underpinnings of hospital birth and read this book, I may have been able to be convinced that birthing in a hospital was not the way I wanted to welcome my child into my arms.
“According to the technocratic model of birth, the human body is a machine. The medical system [which is inculcated by the technocratic culture] has done a thorough job of convincing women of their defectiveness and dangers in their specifically female functions”—pregnancy and childbirth foremost.
I was pleased to read that Davis-Floyd recognized and named trauma as a result of birth experiences; however, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder were misidentified as mild postpartum depression. In my research on PTSD resulting from childbirth, the earliest citations I have found declaring the diagnosis of PTSD were from 1995--before the first edition of the book was published. However, I am disappointed that in the revising for the second edition, the author did not update sections on trauma to reflect the new diagnosis.
Also I felt a category of women's experiences was missing. Davis-Floyd stated that of the 100 women she interviewed for the book that women either fully accepted and embraced the technocratic model of childbirth, they rejected it entirely or they were somewhere in between. To give the benefit of the doubt, there is a chance that the reason why my missing category was not included was because none of the women in her sample would have matched it. The in-between categories included:
- Women who maintained conceptual distance from the technocratic model by achieving "natural" childbirth in the hospital (15%)
- Women who maintained conceptual distance from the technocratic model by placing technology at the service of the individual (10%)
- Women who found conceptual fusion with the technocratic model with cognitive ease (42%)
- Women who found conceptual fusion with the technocratic model during birth by experiencing cognitive distress, e.g. trauma (9%)
Her baby constitutes for her a powerful symbol of her motherhood, her individuality, her new family, the beauty and wonder of nature, and the perfection of her own body and her procreative powers.