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Childbirth calls for interpretation and while birth is interpreted, crucial issues of culture are worked out:
- How is life interpreted in its formation and first stages?
- In which ways does childbirth shape gender relations? How does it affect the status of women – as mothers or as female professionals – in society?
- How is childbirth related to wider cultural forms and concepts, as well as to the definition of personal, cultural and religious identities?
Thus research will concentrate on:
- Cultural dimensions of medicine;
- The debate on midwives;
- Debates within the church on Immaculate Conception, the obligations of fathers, emergency baptism and cultural strain between Christians and Moriscos;
- Legal debates on the duration of pregnancy, the prevention of fraud and posthumous birth;
- Myth, religion and fiction as frames of interpretation;
- Semantics of childbirth and its implicit meanings;
- The symbolic values of the birthing scene;
- Legal practice: violence, recognition of paternity, cultural conflicts, midwives as witnesses or accomplices; the consequences of posthumous birth;