Risky Bodies: Allocation of Risk and Responsibility within Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention Campaigns

  • Irene Shankar Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Royal University
Keywords: Risk, Responsibility, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Health Promotion, Gender, Child Health

Abstract

This paper examines utilization of risk and responsibility discourses within FASD public health promotion messages. In this qualitative case study, using data from 23 semi-structured interviews with those in charge of managing FASD and document analysis, I examine discourses invoked within FASD prevention and awareness campaigns deployed by the province of Alberta, Canada.  The research findings demonstrate that within such FASD discourses, the unborn child is depicted as at-risk and the woman carrying the child is seen as being responsible for creating this risk.  This is possible due to the neo-liberal tenet of individualism that occludes the structural factors that contribute to alcohol consumption and, perhaps FASD itself. This research on FASD is distinct from other studies on risk and responsibility because it recognizes and explores the separation of bodies that are considered to be at “risk” from those that are deemed to be “responsible” for creating such risk.  This paper concludes with an in-depth discussion on the implications of using discourses of risk and responsibility within FASD prevention campaigns.

Author Biography

Irene Shankar, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Royal University
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Royal University
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