La professione ostetrica: mutamenti e nuove prospettive
- Process of professionalization,
- Historical-relational approach
The paper focuses on the professionalization of Italian midwifery which, in recent years, has been involved in a process of social and professional mobility, together with twenty-one other health occupations. A historical-relational approach has been used. It adheres to Elias’ theoretical perspective according to which professions are considered as the result of the network of relationships that individuals build, therefore influencing their behaviour. Starting from the onset of the XX century, the history of midwifery is reconstructed by dividing it into three distinct phases where periods of professional autonomy alternate with periods of dominationand subordination, thus limiting the acquisition of a professional status. Finally, in the conclusions the paper foreshadows the advent of a fourth phase in which new opportunities as well as new risks may appear for midwives. Only if the latter are able to grasp these opportunities while limiting the risks, can they achieve a higher professional status.