Authors Name: 
Rosanna Cooney
University College Dublin
Social Sciences
Highly commended

Control of the body is central to social order

Control of the female body is central to contemporary social order. The societal shift from the institution of religion to state law and science as the primary sources of moral and behavioural guidance has not resulted in dissolution of embedded systems of female subjugation. Although the source of dictates has changed, the underlying narrative has not. Control over the female reproductive body is essential for the continuation of the organized patriarchal dividend. Human sexual experience, the subjective representation of the reproductive functions of both men and women and the regulation of information and subsequent perception surrounding these issues is examined. Approaching these issues from a sociological perspective and using a multidisciplinary approach, this essay draws upon examples of the constructed dominance of the female body’s reproductive value above all other functions. Methods of both formal and informal control are addressed from a western and global societal context. Finally Ireland’s particular history in the institutionalisation of women who deviated from the prescribed rules of sexuality will be addressed through a sociological analysis of Patricia Burke Brogan’s play Eclipsed.