Contesting the Nature of Young Pregnant and Mothering Women: Critical Healthcare Nexus Research, Ethics Committees, and Healthcare Institutions

  • Tracey Feltham-KingEmail author
  • Yolisa Bomela
  • Catriona Ida Macleod


In this chapter we describe how systemic contradictions complicate ethical site entry and data collection in critical research. We present our ethnographic research within South African antenatal and postnatal clinics as an example. Pregnant and mothering young women are subject to diverging views of minors in different state-produced policies and legislation. In addition, we encountered discrepancies between our research aims and assumptions made by the University Ethical Standards Committee, managers, healthcare providers, teenaged participants, and other service users. These complexities have implications for ethical engagement of researchers and call for nuanced means of data collection and analysis. We discuss how critical researchers can mitigate social injustice by questioning entrenched ways of thinking about participants and negotiating the contradictory positionings of self and others.



We thank the participants of our research for their time and input. This chapter is based on research supported by the South African Research Chairs initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (grant number: 87582), and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation (grant number: 11100695).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracey Feltham-King
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yolisa Bomela
    • 2
  • Catriona Ida Macleod
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Fort HareEast LondonSouth Africa
  2. 2.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction, Department of PsychologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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