Who’s afraid of birth? Exploring mundane and existential affects with Heidegger

Staehler, Tanja (2017) Who’s afraid of birth? Exploring mundane and existential affects with Heidegger. Janus Head, 16 (1). ISSN 1524-2269

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While certain levels of fear and anxiety seem quite appropriate to the experience of birth, it is detrimental if they become overwhelming. This article strives to understand birth-related affects more thoroughly by asking which affects are commonly involved, and how they come about. Martin Heidegger provides the most developed phenomenology of affects available to us. A phenomenological perspective proves useful because its close description allows categorising affects into mundane ones like fears (evoked by specific entities and circumstances) and existential ones like anxiety. Anxiety concerns our existence in its entirety and brings us face to face with the fact that we are finite beings in a groundless existence. Giving birth means needing to negotiate existential affects in a mundane situation. The birth-giving woman is dependent on others to take her seriously in her experience of affective turmoil in which anxiety and wonder, fears and anticipatory anxiousness come together.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: childbirth, phenomenology, affects, anxiety, Heidegger
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Literature and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General) > B3279.H45 Heidegger, Martin, 1889-1976
Depositing User: Tanja Staehler
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2016 10:06
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65380

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