The Quest for Social and Professional Recognition: from a French Midwifery Perspective

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


Birth is political -previous research has demonstrated how birth is a contested space between professions (Johnson 2008). The role attributed to the profession of midwifery changes in relation to how maternity care is being organized as well as in accordance to the changing demands and expectations from birth-giving women (Benoit 2005, Lehn-Christiansen & Thualagant, work in progress). Scholars have also identified cultural differences between not only births but also the status of midwifery regarding birth (Wagner 2001) as well as birth organisation contributing different roles to the profession of midwife (De Vries et al. 2001). While midwifes in Denmark have celebrated their 300th anniversary of midwifery, midwifes in France are still in demand for a wider recognition. Embedded in a “highly medicalized” (Wagner 2001) birth culture, the French State launched a national action plan in 2004 in the quest for more “humanized” births. This action plan among other strategies, sets focus on the profession of “midwifery” as a profession leading to more “humane” births. Despite the effort behind the action plan, research illustrates that midwifes in France are still fighting for not only a social but also professional recognition (Charrier 2011). With a twofold aim, this paper examines the rationale behind the latest intervention in 2015, where the state approved the project of “maisons de naissances”, i.e. midwife-led births units. Secondly, with a theoretical focus on the demand for recognition, this paper explores based on midwifes earlier experienced barriers to cooperation how the new maternity structure is experienced regarding their demand for an enhanced social and professional recognition


KonferenceThe 14th European Sociological Association conference

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