Caroline Rusterholz

Chapter 4 uses the testing of the Gräfenberg ring, the first intrauterine device (IUD), and the rivalry between the female doctor Helena Wright and the sexologist Norman Haire to exemplify the new expert position acquired by Wright in both the international and national spheres. This chapter explores in detail the first clinical trials of the Gräfenberg ring. It reveals broader issues surrounding power relationships and expertise within the medical body and points out the way that female doctors were increasingly perceived as experts and reliable voices in the production of scientific knowledge on new contraceptive methods both at international and national level. In addition, it shows how international conferences and journeys were determinant spaces for doctors working in birth control, not only for gaining knowledge on new contraceptive methods but also for asserting their expertise.

in Women’s medicine
Queens & Kings and Other Things
Roger Sabin

Chapter 4 examines Duval’s only children’s book, with particular reference to its relationship to Edward Lear’s nonsense verse, other influences on its content and its contemporary reception. The book’s lavish production values point to a high point in her career, and its mode of address to a willingness to experiment.

in Marie Duval
Open Access (free)
Caroline Rusterholz

The conclusion highlights the principle contributions of the book: women doctors actively contributed to the medicalisation of contraception and family planning. They did so with a view to empowering women to avoid pregnancies and adopt female-oriented methods of birth control. But they also aspired to take these issues away from the moralists; instead, birth control, contraception and family planning were to be regarded as medical fields of research and practice in which female doctors would be central actors. By engaging medically with this topic and entering the field in large numbers, women doctors were trying to secure territory for themselves. Despite a feminist sensitivity to and awareness of their patients’ needs, they were nevertheless wielding their authority over the female body. At the national level, women doctors tirelessly advocated for access to contraception and reliable methods of birth control. At the international level, British women doctors participated in debates about the medicalisation of birth control at conferences in the 1920s and 1930s. They contributed to positioning birth control as an international health issue. The conclusion then engages with more contemporary debates on feminist criticisms of medical power and briefly assesses the legacy of these women doctors.

in Women’s medicine
Abstract only
Ilaria Vanni

The Conclusion explains that the framework of design activism provides a vocabulary to understand how design objects and practices address precarity as political, social and material conditions. It also clarifies how the three microhistories presented in the book enable a shift between different scales of observation, remixing close-ups on the localised realities in Italy and long shots on global issues brought about by precarity. In detail, the first chapter explores the invention and use of designed objects in parades. The second chapter provides an example of an activist design intervention in the fashion industry that embedded some of the defuturing elements of precarity in the designed objects, and prefigured a different way to produce fashion with the invention of the ‘metabrand’. The third chapter offers examples of design as redirective practices grounded in activist experiences. Lastly, the Conclusion outlines the four threads running through the book: the throwntogetherness of local and global elements; the attention to build collectivities and alliances; the biographical elements; and finally the idea of ‘laboratory Italy’, arguing that the case of precarity, Italy has been a laboratory of early work reforms, mass precarisation and the erosion of workers’ rights, but also of experimentation in design activism.

in Precarious objects
Roger Sabin

Chapter 1 introduces the magazine, which was Duval’s primary site of publication, and her place within it. Themes that emerge affecting her work relate to the serial publication of the magazine and its political orientation, and the way in which Duval’s work was juxtaposed with the contributions of others, notably the cartoonist of the main ‘cut’ (the illustration with the highest status), William Boucher. The chapter emphasises the innovative nature not only of Judy but also of Duval’s role within the magazine and, by extension, her role in developing cartooning itself.

in Marie Duval
Caroline Rusterholz

Chapter 1 is concerned with the relationship between British reproductive politics and gendered medical practices. It covers the history of female doctors’ practical engagement with birth control and contraception in Britain, from the opening of birth control clinics in the early 1920s to the Family Planning Act in 1967. The chapter argues that women doctors introduced birth control as a field of medical research and practice because birth control clinics provided them with job opportunities. It also shows women were disproportionally represented among doctors interested in birth control, and they dominated this field due to their active participation in birth control clinics, the development of training in contraception and the production of medical and scientific knowledge on birth control and contraception. Drawing on sex and medical manuals, scientific publications in the British Medical Journal and the Lancet, as well as the archives of the Medical Women’s Federation and the Family Planning Association, this chapter focuses on the medicalisation process and the initiatives and strategies women doctors used to position themselves as respectable experts in the new field.

in Women’s medicine
Abstract only
Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin, and Julian Waite
in Marie Duval
Open Access (free)
Caroline Rusterholz

After reminding the reader that the medicalisation of women’s bodies has a specific history, the introduction lays out the key arguments of the book. It presents the methodological framework adopted – namely a social, cultural and intellectual history framework that focuses on the environment in which women doctors lived, emphasising the opportunities they encountered and the constraints they faced. The introduction then reviews the main scholarship on birth control and family planning and makes the case for the need to study the role of women doctors. It locates women doctors’ contribution to the medicalisation of birth control and family planning within three different research strands: reproductive politics, gendered medical practices and contraceptive culture and scientific knowledge. It examines the interconnections of these elements to explain women doctors’ paths towards birth control and family planning.

in Women’s medicine
Abstract only
Design, activism and precarity
Ilaria Vanni

This chapter starts with the story of San Precario, patron saint of precarious workers, a design intervention that mobilised counter-precarity activism in 2004. Here, San Precario introduces the theme of the book: design activism in the context of precarity in Italy. While other anti-precarity activists adapted modes of protests already part of labour movements’ contentious repertoire, such as strikes, pickets, rallies and marches, San Precario as a campaigning artefact and redirective practice brought into play designerly elements, recoding the public discourse. The introduction lays out the reasons for a book on activism and design and presents current debates on cultural and design activism. It also lays out debates on precarity as a concept and contextualises it in contemporary Italian history. The Introduction defines precarity as a type of governmentality that impacts on all aspects of life; that (in addition to labour) regulates the production circulation of a wide range of material and immaterial effects; and that functions as a defuturing force that invests social and material life. Finally, the outline describes the three microhistories that constitute the book’s cases.

in Precarious objects
Abstract only
WeMake, a makerspace in Milan
Ilaria Vanni

This chapter extends the analysis to design grounded in activist practices. It focuses on WeMake, a makerspace founded in 2012 with a specific interest in addressing the uneven distribution of making literacies and access to hardware. The chapter argues that making is a redirective practice, drawing on Fry’s definition of design that facilitates knowledge exchange, politically contests the unsustainable status quo, enables the transformation of knowledge into action and generates a community of change-agents. To ground these ideas, the chapter offers specific examples of redirective practices. These include the use of open-source technology to enable a more evenly distributed level of participation; forms of collaboration, cooperation and knowledge sharing to extend individual capacity by networking it with others; and training programmes to redistribute digital fabrication skills and making literacies. To show how these concepts and practices are materialised through making, orientation devices have a cameo role in each section: a Do-It-Yourself aerial mapping kit; open-source pattern-making and laser-cut garments; and a hacked knitting machine that functions with an Arduino microcontroller and interface to extend the possibilities of electronic knitting.

in Precarious objects