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Social policy with tunnel vision: problems of state efforts to curb adolescent pregnancy in post 1988 Brazil

Burattini, Beatriz (2021) Social policy with tunnel vision: problems of state efforts to curb adolescent pregnancy in post 1988 Brazil. Citizenship Studies, 25 (5). 715 - 738. ISSN 1362-1025

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13621025.2021.1935744


The current moralistic take on adolescent sexuality in Brazil raises the importance of sexual citizenship when examining adolescent fertility policies. Literature on the capacity contract lends a useful lens for understanding the ramifications of the construction of adolescents as sexual citizens. This paper investigates how the conceptualisation of adolescents within the capacity contract may relate to the problematisation of adolescent pregnancy in Brazil. To investigate this, I conduct a Foucauldian discourse analysis of federal level documents. These pertain to adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes, guidelines and a campaign between 1989 and 2020. To examine the visibility of adolescents and adolescent pregnancy, I conduct a content analysis of health indicators and surveys from health registries from the same period. My evidence shows that adolescents found themselves in contradictory and dynamic positions within the capacity contract. Notably, when adolescents were attributed less agency, they were governed more paternalistically. Their choices and vulnerabilities regarding fertility seemed then more likely to be ignored. I conclude that this way in which adolescents were constructed as sexual citizens may have hindered a holistic policy approach to adolescent pregnancy. This highlights how the capacity contract falls short of protecting those deemed incapable.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 15:57
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 16:24

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