«The most famous and old bag» or midwife’s capital (XIXXX
The essay explores – in historical perspective – functions, tools and contents of midwives’ bag, material and immaterial capital for a midwife. Mirror of the conflict between midwives and physicians, bag can tell about the complex contest between professional and non professional midwives and about the complicated relation with Church because of some particular tasks of midwives, especially the possibility to christening newborn. Since the end of XIX century, when obstetric district were instituted, midwives’ bag acquired an unusual importance. Examining the few tools allowed is possible to analyze even the few practices lawful to midwives. In the same time the unofficial equipment inside the bag explains how midwives still played a rich variety of roles in Italian society and how this variety overflowed the narrow confines of the professional category.