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DES Daughters

Book cover credit: Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, The Heart of the Rose,
circa 1902. 97.8 cm × 100.3 cm. © The Glasgow School of Art Collection

Scholarly Reviews

DES Action Voice Fall 2009

"The narratives are moving, and Bell's view of how individually and collectively DES Daughters have created an embodied health movement is intriguing." Full review »

Contemporary Sociology (39:4) 2010

"Bell's work draws on an impressive array of data to illustrate the scope and significance of this embodied social movement: in-depth interviews with DES daughters.... The use of narrative analysis is most compelling here.... Bell has such an important story to tell of women who, beginning from their own embodied experiences, participate in the reconstruction of the large-scale relations of power and knowledge shaping twenty-first century science." Full review »

Sociology of Health & Illness (32:5) 2010

"DES Daughters is about terrible things happening to well-intentioned people, and it is about victims becoming empowered to make changes in the techno-science that, with supreme irony, created a new intensity of the same suffering that it set out to remedy. [It] deserves a place among those that are reshaping how sociology of health and illness is imagined." Full review »

American Sociological Association's SKAT Newsletter Summer 2010

"By acting as a bridge between activist and scientist communities, [Bell] lends her expertise as a researcher and scholar to the embodied health movement, and in doing so carries forth its tradition of collaborative knowledge production. Through Bell’s thorough methodological explanation, she demonstrates the power of narrative analysis and provides a stunning example and invitation for other researchers to engage in this method." Full review »

Medical Anthropology Quarterly (24:3) 2010

"[Bell] follows collective and individual journeys of DES daughters, and DES itself, through a Foucauldian lens focusing on ‘regimes of practices’ – the complex interconnections between medical knowledge and authority, women’s health politics and empowerment, and the institutionalization of DES activism and scientific research….She provides in-depth examination of multiple factors creating the context of each narrative, whether interview, NIH conference, or documentary." Full review »

Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work (25:2) 2010

"Susan E. Bell's history of the feminist DES movement—with its confrontations to seek voice; status in medical dialogues; and, whenever possible, answers—is informative, compelling, and important." Full review »

American Journal of Sociology (116:2) 2010

"Although each chapter is rich in its own right, the strength of this book
lies with Bell’s cumulative building of the emergence of an embodied social movement. As she moves from individual narratives of diagnoses
to the development of activist groups and formal associations to the visual and cultural materials produced along the way, her attention to detail and
rigorous analysis are amply evident." Full review »

Women's Review of Books (27:6) 2010

"As Bell points out, the story is not just about women resisting medical hegemony; it is about how they negotiated the reconceptualization of women’s health." Full review »