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Reproductive Disruptions: Gender, Technology, and Biopolitics in the New Millennium

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Volume 11

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Reproductive Disruptions

Gender, Technology, and Biopolitics in the New Millennium

Edited by Marcia C. Inhorn

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256 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-406-7 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 hb Published (October 2007)

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This volume engages with the politics of human reproduction and will prove an invaluable teaching resource in that field and beyond…[It] thus marks something of a watershed, and there are some fascinating tensions and contrasts to be found here.  ·  JRAI

“This anthology contains important entries from many award-winning senior ethnologists and cultural or medical anthropologists coming from various theoretical perspectives but all addressing intersecting levels of inequality.”  ·  Science & Society


Nominated for the 2007 Book Prize by the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction (AAA)

Reproductive disruptions, such as infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption, and childhood disability, are among the most distressing experiences in people’s lives. Based on research by leading medical anthropologists from around the world, this book examines such issues as local practices detrimental to safe pregnancy and birth; conflicting reproductive goals between women and men; miscommunications between pregnant women and their genetic counselors; cultural anxieties over gamete donation and adoption; the contested meanings of abortion; cultural critiques of hormone replacement therapy; and the globalization of new pharmaceutical and assisted reproductive technologies. This breadth - with its explicit move from the “local” to the “global,” from the realm of everyday reproductive practice to international programs and policies - illuminates most effectively the workings of power, the tensions between women’s and men’s reproductive agency, and various cultural and structural inequalities in reproductive health.

Marcia C. Inhorn is Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of Michigan, where she directs the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. A specialist on infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in the Muslim Middle East, she is the author or editor of four books on the subject. Her publications include Quest for Conception: Gender, Infertility, and Egyptian Medical Traditions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994, winner of Eileen Basker Prize for outstanding research in gender and health), Infertility and Patriarchy: The Cultural Politics of Gender and Family Life in Egypt (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996) and Local Babies, Global Science: Gender, Religion, and In Vitro Fertilization in Egypt (Routledge Press, 2003).

Subject: Medical Anthropology Gender Studies


Marcia C. Inhorn

Introduction: Defining Women’s Health: A Dozen Messages from More than 150 Ethnographies
Marcia C. Inhorn

List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1. The Dialectics of Disruption: Paradoxes of Nature and Professionalism in Contemporary American Childbearing
Caroline H. Bledsoe and Rachel Scherrer

Chapter 2. Designing a Woman-Centered Health Care Approach to Pregnancy Loss: Lessons from Feminist Models of Childbirth
Linda Layne

Chapter 3. Enlarging Reproduction, Screening Disability
Rayna Rapp and Faye Ginsburg

Chapter 4. Openness in Adoption: Re-Thinking “Family” in the US
Harold D. Grotevant


Chapter 5. Can Gender “Equity” in Prenatal Genetic Services Unintentionally Reinforce Male Authority?
C. H. Browner

Chapter 6. When the Personal is Political: Contested Reproductive Strategies among West African Migrants in France
Carolyn Sargent

Chapter 7. Reproductive Disruptions and Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the Muslim World
Marcia C. Inhorn

Chapter 8. The Final Disruption? Biopolitics of Post-Reproductive Life
Margaret Lock

List of Contributors

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