Ancian Julie

PhD student in Sociology, EHESS

EHESS PhD contract (2012-2015)

Dissertation defended on 19 November 2018 : Catastrophic pregnancies. Sociology of reproductive logics in the judicial and biographical narratives of neonaticide

Jury

  • Mme Nathalie Bajos, directrice de recherche, Inserm
  • Mme Simone Bateman, directrice de recherche émérite, CNRS - Directrice de thèse
  • M. Marc Bessin, directeur de recherche, CNRS - Co-directeur de thèse
  • Mme Coline Cardi, maîtresse de conférence en sociologie, Université Paris 8
  • Mme Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez, professeure de droit public, Université Paris Nanterre
  • Mme Dominique Memmi, directrice de recherche, CNRS - Rapporteure
  • M. Olivier Schwartz, professeur émérite de sociologie, Université Paris Descartes – Rapporteur

Presentation

The term infanticide covers diverse realities too long understood in an undifferentiated way. Among them, neonaticide refers to the murder of a newborn within twenty-four hours of birth. In countries with a high access to contraception and abortion, this behavior – formerly associated with birth control – has become marginal. This research proposes a sociological approach to the practice of neonaticide based on its narratives by the courtrooms and by the authors themselves in France (2005-2015). The investigation led to a series of in-depth interviews with five women prosecuted for these acts and to observe five trials in criminal courts. These materials were supplemented by interviews with lawyers and magistrates, court files and a corpus of press articles covering 75 cases judged over the same period. Courtrooms narratives reveal the essentialist approach to motherhood and procreation, which weighs on the intelligibility efforts made by professionals. The analysis of women's life stories, their socialization processes, their intimate partner and family situations and their resources, makes it possible to identify the obstacles encountered in implementing effective contraception or accessing abortion. By apprehending neonaticide as the ultimate means to avoid a birth deemed catastrophic, this study moves away from the individualizing interpretation imposed by the judicial treatment and documents the reproductive agency of women.

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