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Title: The Hands that (yet) Rock the Cradle: Unveiling the Social Construction of the Family Through the Contemporary Birthing Ritual
Authors: Costa, Rosalina
Editors: Claster, Patricia Neff
Blair, Sampson Lee
Keywords: Family rituals
Postnatal hospital visit
Liminal stage
Small talks
Social construction of reality
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Citation: Costa, Rosalina Pisco (2013). "The Hands that (yet) Rock the Cradle: Unveiling the Social Construction of the Family Through the Contemporary Birthing Ritual". In Patricia Neff Claster & Sampson Lee Blair (Eds.), Visions of the 21st Century Family: Transforming Structures and Identities (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Volume 7). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited: 105–131. (ISBN: 978-1-78350-028-4, ISSN: 1530-3535 (Series)). doi:
Abstract: Despite all recent changes in families, and maybe because of them, the birth of a child remains an event of intense expectation, investment, and symbolic meaning. In this chapter, we offer a simultaneously new, innovative, and contemporary perspective on the social construction of the family through the lens of family rituals, specifically directed to the postnatal hospital visit following the birth of a child. The raw data were collected through episodic interviews carried out to Portuguese middle-class men and women. A qualitative content analysis of their detailed descriptions was then conducted making use of software NVivo (©QSR International). The sociological perspective we used allows us to conclude that the moment of the birth of a child is a quintessential time-space for the social construction of the family. Around the baby, for the task of rocking the cradle, men and women join and take on their old and new roles. While the postnatal hospital visit allows the presentation of the newborn family member for the extended family and friends, it strongly underlies the strategies and senses of belonging to one particular family, thereby serving the purpose of its social construction.
ISBN: 978-1-78350-028-4
ISSN: 1530-3535 (Series)
Type: bookPart
Appears in Collections:SOC - Publicações - Capítulos de Livros

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