Article ID: CBB472339950

Das Nest als Umwelt. Eine historische Epistemologie des Nestbauinstinkts in der Schwangerschaft (The Nest as Environment. A Historical Epistemology of the Nesting Instinct in Pregnancy) (March 2021)


Today, many pregnancy guides mention a nesting instinct. According to this, pregnant women would be seized by an urge to create the right environment for their child, for example to buy baby equipment or clean the apartment. The concept of the nesting instinct forms a specific configuration of knowledge: While it is widespread in the popular field, it occupies a marginal position in the scientific field. In this paper, I will investigate the historical epistemology of this form of knowledge. In so doing, the following questions are addressed: How did the knowledge about a nesting instinct during pregnancy form? How was the nest as a specific natural-anthropogenic environment constructed? And to what extent do notions of gender and environment interact here? To answer these questions, the study takes the perspective of a history of knowledge in transit, in the longue durée from the nineteenth century to the present. The investigation reveals a gradual feminization of the concept of environment in the knowledge of the nesting instinct. Whereas in the nineteenth century it was often considered a male behavioral pattern and the nest was an analogy to the house, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the instinct transformed into a primarily female characteristic, with the nest representing the interior of the home. A decisive condition for this circulation of knowledge was that the nest became a 'metaphorical thing'. As such, the nest did not simply lead to naturalization, but denoted a natural-social in-between space that increasingly became the goal of female care work.

Associated with

Article Susanne Schmidt; Lisa Malich (March 2021) Cocooning: Umwelt und Geschlecht. Einleitung (Cocooning: Environment and Gender. Introduction). NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin (pp. 1-10). unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Matteo Manfredini; Marco Breschi; Alessio Fornasin; Stanislao Mazzoni; Sergio De lasio; Alfredo Coppa; (2020)
Maternal Mortality in 19th- and Early 20th-century Italy (/isis/citation/CBB205638611/) unapi

Book Francesca Arena; (2020)
Trouble dans la maternité: Pour une histoire des folies puerpérales, XVIIIe-XXe siècles (/isis/citation/CBB849669724/) unapi

Book Melanie Reynolds; (2016)
Infant Mortality and Working-Class Child Care, 1850-1899 (/isis/citation/CBB958307648/) unapi

Article Biernat, Carolina; Ramacciotti, Karina; (2008)
La tutela estatal de la madre y el niño en la Argentina: estructuras administrativas, legislación y cuadros técnicos (1936--1955) (/isis/citation/CBB000932875/) unapi

Article Shvarts, Shifra; (2000)
The development of mother and infant welfare centers in Israel, 1854-1954 (/isis/citation/CBB000111189/) unapi

Article Davis, Angela; (2014)
Wartime Women Giving Birth: Narratives of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Britain c. 1939--1960 (/isis/citation/CBB001421091/) unapi

Book Sarah S. Richardson; (2021)
The Maternal Imprint: The Contested Science of Maternal-Fetal Effects (/isis/citation/CBB755948278/) unapi

Article Vailly, Joëlle; (2014)
Genetic Testing, Birth, and the Quest for Health (/isis/citation/CBB001421197/) unapi

Article Löwy, Ilana; (2014)
How Genetics Came to the Unborn: 1960--2000 (/isis/citation/CBB001421074/) unapi

Book Kennedy, V. Lynn; (2010)
Born Southern: Childbirth, Motherhood, and Social Networks in the Old South (/isis/citation/CBB001200632/) unapi

Book Susan Merrill Squier; Jenell Johnson; (2018)
Graphic Reproduction: A Comics Anthology (/isis/citation/CBB827890000/) unapi

Book Georges, Eugenia; (2008)
Bodies of Knowledge: The Medicalization of Reproduction in Greece (/isis/citation/CBB001031564/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Shvarts, Shifra
Biernat, Carolina
Ramacciotti, Karina
Georges, Eugenia
Kennedy, V. Lynn
Sorin, Claire
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
British Journal for the History of Science
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Science, Technology and Human Values
Vanderbilt University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Chicago Press
Pennsylvania State University Press
Publications de l'Université de Provence
Palgrave Macmillan
Mothers and children
Obstetrics and pregnancy
Women and health
Farnham, Eliza W.
Fabre, Jean Henri
Perrier, Edmond
Giard, Alfred
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
18th century
20th century, early
United States
Southern states (U.S.)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment