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It's a girl!: Social and linguistic practices for assigning sex in the delivery room1
Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.
Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

That society divides its members into females and males is the point of departure for muchresearch on gender and language yet the situated accomplishment of the primordial sexcategorization of the newborn child has not attracted much scholarly attention. The presentstudy fills this research gap by exploring the social and linguistic organization of sexassignment in a corpus of 67 videorecordings of birth. We present quantitative and qualitativesupport for the idea that sex assignment is a prioritized activity during the first minutes afterchild birth. Contrary to descriptions and assumptions in previous research we find that sexassignment typically engenders extended sequences of talk that requires collaborationbetween parents and medical staff. Furthermore, we find the assignment to be a genderedpractice in that fathers are given primary entitlement to proclaim the sex of their offspring.We conclude the study by situating our research in its socio-cultural context.

Keywords [en]
sex assignment, childbirth, membership, categorization, conversation analysis
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Swedish Language
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-62946OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-62946DiVA, id: diva2:1093611
Available from: 2014-04-09 Created: 2017-05-08 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Födandets sociala utformning: språkliga och kroppsliga praktiker i förlossningsrummet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Födandets sociala utformning: språkliga och kroppsliga praktiker i förlossningsrummet
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores the social construction of birth by analyzing the interaction between the participants present in the delivery room. The data is drawn from 79 video recordings of birth. Six are unedited research recordings and the remaining 73 were edited for pedagogical, documentary and entertaining purposes. The theoretical and analytical perspective is Conversation Analysis. With this microanalytic method, a detailed insight is given to the interaction in the delivery room which should be of linguistic, anthropologic and midwifery interest.

The thesis demonstrates how different situations are shaped during labor and the first 15 minutes after birth. It reveals how the identities child, girl, boy, mother, father, woman and man are constructed and negotiated in the unfolding interaction between the participants. In this sense, the thesis uncovers the construction of family roles in the delivery room during a delicate interaction between the private persons and the institutional representatives. The latter are charged with the complex task of safeguarding the physical wellbeing of mother and child while also promoting the development of parental identities. The thesis highlights the existence of a social birth work; the institutional interactants make use of a range of linguistic resources to demarcate the progression from second stage labor to birth and to position the newborn as an endeared social creature. Birth is an important liminal situation and is therefore forcefully spoken forth, and, as the thesis shows, enhanced with more or less ritual utterances and actions. Birth is also a matter of bodies, the body in labor, the supporting body of the partner and the appearance of the body of the newborn. The thesis gives insight into how these bodies are managed and stylized in interaction. Further the thesis makes visible the midwife’s use of interactional resources to instill strength into the body of the woman in labor. The results are discussed in light of the socio-cultural circumstances for hospital birth in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2013. p. 70
Series
Studier från Örebro i svenska språket, ISSN 1653-9869 ; 8
Keywords
birth work, conversation analysis, membership categorization analysis, connection maneuvres, identity, ritual and body in interaction
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Swedish Language
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-62963 (URN)978-91-7668-954-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-25, BIOgrafen, Forumhuset, Örebro universitet, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-24 Created: 2017-05-08 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Näslund, Shirley

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