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Phenomenology of the newborn
life from womb to world
Many children spend their first days, weeks, and sometimes months in a neonatal intensive care unit as a consequence of prematurity, congenital anomalies, or birth complications. Their medical needs are thoughtfully appraised and attended to, yet some questions are rarely asked: What experiences do these newborns have? What experiences are we giving them? How can we and do we understand what their lives are like? What are the interventions and actions of medical care actually like for them? Michael van Manenexplores the experiential life of newborn infants with particular consideration for those newborns who require medical care. Drawing on contemporary research findings from physiology, psychology, biology, and other disciplines, he offers phenomenological insights and raises thought-provoking questions as to how we ought to understand and care for such young children. In our contemporary world, it is often the experiences of inception, of first contact, with those who seem most distant, foreign, or even alien that we need to try to apprehend and understand. The inceptual lives of newborn infants challenges us to explore those experiences phenomenologically – to investigate the originary meanings of early life experiences. Phenomenology of the Newborn is an essential text for researchers seeking to employ phenomenology for the study of neonatal life and related concerns that may seem inaccessible to other more traditional qualitative and quantitative methods.
van Manen, M. (2020). Phenomenology of the newborn: life from womb to world, Routledge, London.
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