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Balancing tradition and modernity in narratives surrounding contraception use among poorer women in West Bengal, India.
Unformatted Document Text:  3 new one, and this makes it difficult to negotiate decisions that involve conflicting views of the world such as in the area of fertility control. Qualitative interviewing based on feminist principles is used to interview women in waiting areas of government family planning clinics to find out how they negotiate these decisions with members of family and themselves. This paper discusses the concerns and uncertainties they express about fertility control, and the ways this decision impacts their lives on several levels. Rationale Since the 1950’s there has been much concern in India and other parts of the world about population trends (Panandiker & Umashankar, 1994; Warwick, 1982). This has resulted in an enormous push on the part of the Indian government in the area of fertility control. Women have largely been the targets of this initiative, as most areas surrounding children and fertility are considered within their domain. It is important, therefore, to have an understanding of women’s perspectives on fertility control and regulation. It is through such understanding that programs that provide birth control technology and counseling can be sensitized to women’s needs in this essential yet delicate area. Methodology/ Details. The interviews took place at three family planning centers in the state of West Bengal in eastern India. West Bengal has an area of 88752 sq. kms. and borders Bangladesh in the west and the states of Bihar and Orissa in the east. Northern Bengal is

Authors: Mookerjee, Devalina.
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new one, and this makes it difficult to negotiate decisions that involve conflicting views
of the world such as in the area of fertility control.
Qualitative interviewing based on feminist principles is used to interview women in
waiting areas of government family planning clinics to find out how they negotiate these
decisions with members of family and themselves. This paper discusses the concerns and
uncertainties they express about fertility control, and the ways this decision impacts their
lives on several levels.
Rationale
Since the 1950’s there has been much concern in India and other parts of the world
about population trends (Panandiker & Umashankar, 1994; Warwick, 1982). This has
resulted in an enormous push on the part of the Indian government in the area of fertility
control. Women have largely been the targets of this initiative, as most areas surrounding
children and fertility are considered within their domain.
It is important, therefore, to have an understanding of women’s perspectives on
fertility control and regulation. It is through such understanding that programs that
provide birth control technology and counseling can be sensitized to women’s needs in
this essential yet delicate area.
Methodology/ Details.
The interviews took place at three family planning centers in the state of West
Bengal in eastern India. West Bengal has an area of 88752 sq. kms. and borders
Bangladesh in the west and the states of Bihar and Orissa in the east. Northern Bengal is


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