Date of Completion

Spring 5-8-2011

Thesis Advisor(s)

Pamela Erickson

Honors Major



Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology


In the Western ethnomedical tradition, childbirth follows the technocratic model, a concept developed by Davis-Floyd (1992). Within such a system, the woman’s body produces a fetus, much like a machine produces and product, and is delivered unto society by the physician (mechanic) in the proper manner and time. This cultural conception of birth has lead to a society in which maternal and child health has suffered, as many of the practices employed by a physician during a managed labor and delivery are not backed by evidence-based medicine. This thesis argues that reality television shows, specifically A Baby Story enable the continued cultural transmission of the technocratic model to young women. This study examines the conception of childbirth among young women (18-24) as well as the role of reality television in perpetuating the technocratic model.