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Good birth and good living. The (de)medicalizing key to sexual reform in the anarchist media of inter-war Spain

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Libertarian discourse questions bourgeois discourse and develops a sociocultural alternative that is often directly or indirectly related to science, medicine, health and disease (i.e. to biopower). The complex nature of libertarian thinking and biopower has led us to develop our analysis within a relational and eclectic theoretical–methodological framework that allows us to examine one of the devices of biopower – the process of medicalization. Many key explanatory traits of inter-war anarchist thinking may certainly be found in the process of medicalization, which was widely established in the early twentieth century, notwithstanding the fact that such processes have been marked by a wide variety of positions, some of which are alternative, such as those adopted to a large extent by the libertarian movement of that historical period. Thus, in this sense, our purpose is to analyse and understand to what extent discourses on the so-called 'sexual reform', as disseminated by the libertarian press in inter-war Spain, conditioned the processes of (de)medicalization; and also to what extent the latter conditioned discourses on sexual liberation.

Keywords: anarchism; gender; inter-war Spain; medicalization; sexuality; social class; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Málaga 2: Autonomous University of Barcelona

Publication date: May 26, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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