Starting from an event occurring in 2018, I consider burials of abortive remains as a battleground for reproductive governances. Public debate on pregnancy loss is often intertwined with the abortion debate. In Italy this association caused a considerable delay in implementing practices recommended by international guidelines on pregnancy loss. In this essay I analyse burial regulations and the ways in which they are enforced asking what is at stake when the State, the regions, the Catholic church, healthcare and cemetery professionals and women undergoing a termination or a pregnancy loss decide what to do with bodily remains. What is the meaning of these peculiar dead bodies? How are they publicly named? What are the effects of the actions performed on fetal remains over the lived experiences of women and couples with different reproductive histories? Who has the right to make decisions over these peculiar bodies and relationships? Based on a long-term ethnography on abortion and pregnancy losses in Italy, I explore the inherent complexity of these questions, arguing that burial practices conflict with abortion rights when they signify the body unequivocally, separating it from social and intimate relationships, fixing its identity and determining the conditions for its recognition. Human flesh, sociologically understood (Memmi 2014), is both material and symbolic: a fluctuating reality that takes on different meanings and affects over time within relationships.

Mattalucci, C. (2022). Abortion, Pregnancy Losses and the Afterlife of Bodies, Bonds and Memories in Italy. In C.S. Guerzoni, C. Mattalucci (a cura di), Reproductive Governance and Bodily Materiality: Flesh, Technologies, and Knowledge (pp. 75-92). Bingley : Emerald [10.1108/978-1-80071-438-020221009].

Abortion, Pregnancy Losses and the Afterlife of Bodies, Bonds and Memories in Italy

Mattalucci, C
2022

Abstract

Starting from an event occurring in 2018, I consider burials of abortive remains as a battleground for reproductive governances. Public debate on pregnancy loss is often intertwined with the abortion debate. In Italy this association caused a considerable delay in implementing practices recommended by international guidelines on pregnancy loss. In this essay I analyse burial regulations and the ways in which they are enforced asking what is at stake when the State, the regions, the Catholic church, healthcare and cemetery professionals and women undergoing a termination or a pregnancy loss decide what to do with bodily remains. What is the meaning of these peculiar dead bodies? How are they publicly named? What are the effects of the actions performed on fetal remains over the lived experiences of women and couples with different reproductive histories? Who has the right to make decisions over these peculiar bodies and relationships? Based on a long-term ethnography on abortion and pregnancy losses in Italy, I explore the inherent complexity of these questions, arguing that burial practices conflict with abortion rights when they signify the body unequivocally, separating it from social and intimate relationships, fixing its identity and determining the conditions for its recognition. Human flesh, sociologically understood (Memmi 2014), is both material and symbolic: a fluctuating reality that takes on different meanings and affects over time within relationships.
Capitolo o saggio
Abortion; Pregnancy loss; Death; Body politics; Flesh; Burial
English
Reproductive Governance and Bodily Materiality: Flesh, Technologies, and Knowledge
978-1-80071-439-7
eISBN: 978-1-80071-438-0
Mattalucci, C. (2022). Abortion, Pregnancy Losses and the Afterlife of Bodies, Bonds and Memories in Italy. In C.S. Guerzoni, C. Mattalucci (a cura di), Reproductive Governance and Bodily Materiality: Flesh, Technologies, and Knowledge (pp. 75-92). Bingley : Emerald [10.1108/978-1-80071-438-020221009].
Mattalucci, C
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/365550
Citazioni
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
Social impact