Homebirth

Project at the Faculty of Social Science, Charles University Prague &  Institute of Sociology at the Czech Academy of Sciences
(funded by GAČR 2018 – 2020)

This project is the first one in the Czech Republic to bring an up-to-date and robust evidence on the key controversial issue of home birth. Attempts to ban home birth have recently multiplied and characterize this choice as a threat to the infant’s safety, and as evidence of mothers´ irresponsibility. These attempts are countered by groups that defend the mother’s right to choose home birthing. The controversy exposes the discussion about who are the relevant experts, and what knowledge is legitimate to use, in the policy debate. Patients have only recently been perceived as experts in health, with the result that their experiences become part of policy debates. By embedding the case in the European context and using recent critical policy studies scholarship the project conceptualizes intimacy as the individual emotional experience related to birth informing the argument for and against home birth. It looks on ways intimacy is legitimized in the debate thereby working toward a political notion of intimacy as a key instrument of citizen empowerment and related policy processes.

The project wants to:

Collect an up-to-date and robust empiric evidence on Czech home birth practices

Propose a public policy-oriented notion of intimacy

Develop a novel understanding of citizen empowerment through intimacy

Embed the Czech case in the European debates on health & medicine