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The comparative phenomenology of pregnancy and depression

Byrne, Eleanor Alexandra (2018) The comparative phenomenology of pregnancy and depression. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis proposes that the adoption of the phenomenological perspective has potential to cultivate a uniquely rich sort of self-understanding in women throughout pregnancy and early motherhood. I argue that contemporary reductionist theories of consciousness in both philosophy and psychiatry fail to recognise the irreducibility of the subject, and in turn, the relationship between mind, body, and world. From this, I defend the adoption of a moderately naturalised phenomenological perspective on changes to the structure of experience in pregnancy. I then offer an analysis of the phenomenology of pregnancy and early motherhood, working with existing literature on the phenomenology of illness, with particular focus on depression. I explore some factors that might influence certain women’s vulnerability to depression-like experience in pregnancy, proposing that for such vulnerable individuals, the way in which experience can alter in pregnancy can involve phenomenologically-rich structural similarities to the ways in which experience can alter in illness. Finally, I argue that the dominance of the reductionist paradigm that I resisted results in various types of epistemic injustices being committed against such women in the clinical encounter. From this, I suggest how the adoption of the phenomenological perspective might work to mitigate the effects of these injustices, facilitating self-understanding and resilience in the women in question.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: Ms Eleanor Alexandra Byrne
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 16:13
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2018 16:13
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21982

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