Accepted paper:

Beyond instrumentalism: the case of maternal mortality policies in neoliberal Brazil


Marianna Leite (Birkbeck College)

Paper short abstract:

This paper uses a Foucauldian discourse analysis to trace the use of instrumentalist discouses in maternal mortality policy making in Brazil.

Paper long abstract:

We live in capitalist times. All capitalist projects make use of a political rhetoric to support a particular discourse and practice that increases economic dependency and the poverty gap. Modern capitalist projects are mostly known and classified in the form of the cluster loosely named neoliberalism. This paper analyses the ascendance of maternal mortality as an issue and its neglect by Brazilian public policy in order to establish its links with the wider neoliberal project. More specifically, its main argument is that the control exerted by neoliberalism over policy and policy discourse is particularly acute in the case of maternal mortality. In its most progressive format, maternal mortality touches upon politically contentious issues that are often resisted by conservative networks supporting neoliberal control over public health sector reforms, principles and practices.

panel P21
Challenging gendered instrumentalism in Latin American social policy?