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Teenage pregnancyThe making and unmaking of a problem$
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Lisa Arai

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420749

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420749.001.0001

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Theorising teenage pregnancy as a problem

Theorising teenage pregnancy as a problem

(p.108) (p.109) Seven Theorising teenage pregnancy as a problem
Teenage pregnancy

Lisa Arai

Policy Press

This chapter explores social-constructionist and related approaches to teenage pregnancy. It focuses on two political periods — the Conservatives in power from the 1980s to the late 1990s and the New Labour governments from the late 1990s onwards. In the two political periods under consideration, teenage mothers moved from being seen as deviant, moral outcasts responsible for their own ‘downfall’, to being dependents, vulnerable young women in need of help to make the correct choices about their own fertility. Where they are unable to do this, the state increasingly intervenes to support them to make the right decisions. This is part of a more general move towards surveillance of reproductive and family formation behaviours. Under both governments, teenage pregnancy was cast as a problem for different reasons, but there are commonalities between the two periods. This chapter considers how policy and wider social attitudes to pregnant and parenting teenagers are informed by the social conditions, norms, and anxieties of the day.

Keywords:   teenage pregnancy, teenage motherhood, Conservatives, New Labour, fertility, parenting teenagers, social conditions

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