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Accepted Paper:

Framing abortion as crisis: an ethnography of pro-life Catholic activism in Milan (Italy)  
Claudia Mattalucci (Università di Milano Bicocca)

Paper long abstract:

In Italy, the Catholic Church has long played a prominent role in countering the legalization of abortion. Since the approval of Law 194, in 1978, Catholic activists have gradually abandoned a militant opposition to the law to embrace a "cultural mission" and engage in different forms of social work. Through an ethnography of the pro-life movement in Milan, this paper explores the social and political role played by the Catholics in the fight against abortion. Particular attention will be devoted to the construction of abortion as crisis and to the role attributed to imagination as a tool to cope with the psychological consequences that abortion is supposed to engender. In addition to being presented as a product of the moral and social crisis that characterizes modern society, abortion is in fact recognized by activists as a producer of crises that affect those who are involved in it. These crises are managed through various types of counselling provided by Catholic clinics or parishes, in which psychological therapies merge with prayers.

Panel W032
Ethnographies of Catholicism
  Session 1