Policy Sciences

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 91–111

Aboriginal citizen, discredited medical subject: Paradoxical constructions of Aboriginal women's subjectivity in Canadian health care policies



In this paper, we explore paradoxes and contradictions in Canadian health policy discourses that define Aboriginal women as empowered citizens on the one hand and as discredited medical subjects on the other. Drawing on critical discourse theory, we analyze health policy discourses within the contexts of related political and public discourses about Aboriginal peoples in Canada. We describe a double-speak: a paradox between the constructions of Aboriginal women as citizens in dialogue with government in health policy “reforms,” and their construction as discredited medical subjects who lack legitimacy in health care services. Intertwined with explicit resistance to Aboriginal entitlements, deconstruction of health policy discourses within this political context is central to understanding how Aboriginal women continue to be discredited through processes of marginalization.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Women's Studies University of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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