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“ ‘¡Cuídate!’ le dije yo” Imagined Choices: Models of Agency, Intentionality, and Responsibility in Adolescent Pregnancy


Adolescent pregnancy has come to symbolize all that is antithetical to the ideals of modern motherhood and remains a site upon which debates surrounding agency, intentionality, and responsibility take place. The moral schemas that structure such debates evolve against the standard of the self-managing, rational actor and are increasingly informed by ideologies that are primarily neoliberal rather than religious. Yet the cohesive self articulated in such tidy theories of human action remains elusive, a figment of the policymaker’s imagination. An analysis of the conflicting interpretative frameworks surrounding adolescent pregnancy in a small town on the U.S.-Mexico border complicates binary models of choice based on rational actor theory and illuminates the neoliberal grounds upon which the moral valence of intentionality rests.

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