Tanja Staehler – Phenomenology of Childbirth between Theory and Practice

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk


Tanja Staehler is Professor of European Philosophy at the University of Sussex. Her current research focuses on the bodily experiences and emotions of pregnancy, birth, and being with infants, from a phenomenological perspective. Her research mediates between philosophers (phenomenologists), parents, and healthcare professionals such that the perspectives can be shared as well as differences acknowledged. She has published numerous essays in this area, including articles in the journals Janus Head, Health Care and Philosophy and also in the Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy. Tanja has written books on (2016) Hegel, Husserl, and the Phenomenology of historical worlds. Rowman and Littlefield International (2016); Plato and Levinas: the ambiguous out-side of ethics. Routledge, New York (2009) and (together with Michael Lewis), Phenomenology: An Introduction. Continuum (2010)

Phenomenology of Childbirth between Theory and Practice

In this presentation, I want to reflect on the experience of researching childbirth from a phenomenological perspective. In particular, methodological challenges will be considered that emerge from work at the intersection of theory and practice. My co-designed online learning module for the Royal College of Midwives entitled ‘Communication in Labour’ will serve as an example for the practical aspect. The module attempts to utilise the concepts of emotions, reflection, responsivity and situation which emerge from the theoretical analysis.

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