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Early puberty and public health: a social scientific pinboard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2010
JournalCritical Public Health
Journal number4
Volume20
Number of pages10
Pages429-438
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Whilst a number of social scientists have described significant changes in cultural practices and discourses around girls’ sexual development in the contemporary moment, there is almost complete silence on the question of widely reported changes in the physical and public health-related aspects of this seemingly ‘sped up’ development. This article addresses this deficit by critically exploring a range of technoscientific, biomedical, popular and environmentalist discourses describing such changes. Using science studies theorist John Law's device of the ‘pinboard’, I provide a map of the field of early puberty and elaborate areas of popular and expert concern, of controversy and debate, and of incoherence and confusion. Using the pinboard's facility for jarring juxtaposition and lateral connection, I raise critical questions about links between early puberty and other biomedical conditions and question the role of normative assumptions in the field