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Birth and Death: relations and connections Morgan Centre seminar with Kath Woodward and Sophie Woodward

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ZOOM link for event:

https://zoom.us/j/97358778619

Meeting ID: 973 5877 8619

Birth and death are usually conceived in opposition: birth as a beginning, death an end, birth as a source of hope and optimism and death the cause of grief. In this talk we will outline our approach taken in our book Birth and Death, by thinking about birth and death in relation to each other to problematise these oppositions by highlighting how birth and death as part of life and living and their profound and routine connections. The profound and routine are central to how we understand birth and death as they are both ordinary and everyday as well as being life-changing and defining experiences. We develop a relational and intergenerational approach to birth and death which is informed by critical feminist theories which engage with inequalities and the operation of power: by positioning birth and death in relation to each other we draw out a series of other relations that are central to life and living: the ordinary and extraordinary, the personal and the social, the medical and the natural. The global pandemic has shown how pressing these relationships are. When economies and health care are in crisis and death is on the agenda what hope is there for choice, respect and dignity for those giving birth or those who are dying, in each case without support if loved ones? Rethinking the relationship between birth and death is even more relevant in uncertain times, when exercising any control over our lives seems impossible in the midst of the certainties about the threat of Covid-19 to livelihoods, life itself and our communities.

Kath Woodward is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the Open University. She has published extensively in the field of critical feminist theory and psychosocial approaches to identity and embodiment often in the context of sport, especially boxing. She has made a variety of films, including A Bloody Canvas, about art and boxing, and curated an Olympics Museum on time and temporality, Chasing Time. Two of her 26 books have been with Sophie Woodward, including the most recent, Birth and Death. She is currently writing the 4th edition of Social Sciences: The Big Issues and continues to examine PhDs. She is the editor of the Frontiers' journal, Gender Sex and Sexualities and is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

Sophie Woodward is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester and she carries out research into materiality, fashion, consumption, feminist theory and everyday life. She is the author of 5 books, including Material methods (SAGE), and Birth and Death (Routledge with Kath Woodward). She has an ongoing interest in creative methods and material methods and is currently carrying out research into Dormant Things – things in the home people keep but are no longer using, which she is currently developing into publications.

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Organiser Morgan Centre, Department of Sociology, The University of Manchester

Organiser of Birth and Death: relations and connections

Since our launch in 2005, the Morgan Centre has established itself internationally as a centre of excellence for research in the fields of personal life, relationships, and everyday life.

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