Research on loss culture: Dr Julia Böcker receives German Study Award

2022-07-29 The scientist achieves second place in the German Study Prize of the Körber Foundation with her doctoral thesis. She researches stillbirth and miscarriage from a sociological perspective. The Körber Foundation annually awards doctorates with high social significance.

Dr. Julia Böker

"The topics of miscarriage and stillbirth still cause communicative discomfort," says Dr Julia Böcker. In her doctoral thesis, she investigated how the supposedly invisible can be socially recognised as a loss. With this socially relevant topic, she convinced the jury of the Körber Foundation and prevailed in the social sciences category against more than 150 applicants. For her doctoral thesis, Julia Böcker conducted interviews with people affected, midwives and child undertakers, for example. In some cases, the legislation leads to social marginalisation: "Only since 2013 has there been a civil status law for miscarriages that is linked to burial rights," explains Julia Böcker. The researcher completed her doctorate at the Institute for Sociology and Cultural Organisation under Prof. (emer.) Günter Burkart and will continue her academic work at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Since June, she has also been associated with the university research focus Human Reproduction Reloaded at the University of Zurich.

Julia Böcker's research field is still young. Only a few scientists deal with the topic of pregnancy loss. Most recently, as a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, she had the opportunity to exchange ideas with an international team researching various aspects of human reproduction, such as homosexual parenthood or reproductive inequality. The Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) is led by the renowned sociology professor Sarah Franklin.

Julia Böcker will receive the award from Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin in December. The prize is endowed with 5000 euros.


  • Dr. Julia Böcker