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Being a Sperm Donor: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Biosociality in Denmark

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Volume 40

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Being a Sperm Donor

Masculinity, Sexuality, and Biosociality in Denmark

Sebastian Mohr

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198 pages, 6 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-946-2 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (August 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-947-9 eBook

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“Mohr is to be commended on having carried out an ethnographic study that is thorough and sensitive.  Not only that, the work shows considerable theoretical ambition in its analysis of biomedical subjectivation at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and assisted reproductive technologies… informed by a comprehensive grasp of kinship, feminist and queer theories.” • Bob Simpson, University of Durham

“An important, original contribution to the anthropology of reproduction. Mohr does an excellent job of presenting multiple, fascinating perspectives on this subject. The ethnographic material is superb and his framing of it is appropriate and convincing.” • Linda Layne, University of Cambridge


What does it mean to be a man in our biomedical day and age? Through ethnographic explorations of the everyday lives of Danish sperm donors, Being a Sperm Donor explores how masculinity and sexuality are reconfigured in a time in which the norms and logics of (reproductive) biomedicine have become ordinary. It investigates men’s moral reasoning regarding donation, their handling of transgressive experiences at the sperm bank, and their negotiations of gender, sexuality, intimacy, and relatedness, showing how the socio-cultural and political dimensions of (reproductive) biomedicine become intertwined with men’s intimate sense of self.

Sebastian Mohr is Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at Karlstad University, Sweden. He works as an ethnographer of gender, sexuality, and intimacy in the fields of (reproductive) biomedicine, the military and militarization, and technology. He is co-convener of the EASA European Network for Queer Anthropology, board member of the Sexuality Research Network of the European Sociological Association, and member of the editorial board of Women, Gender & Research.

Subject: Medical Anthropology Gender Studies Sociology
Area: Northern Europe



Introduction: Being a Sperm Donor

Chapter 1. Becoming a Sperm Donor: Conceptual Pathways
Chapter 2. Regimes of Living: Donating Semen and the Pleasure of Morality
Chapter 3. Affective Investments: Masturbation and the Pleasure of Control
Chapter 4. Biosocial Relatedness: Being Connected and the Pleasure of Responsibility
Chapter 5. The Limits of Biosocial Subjectivation: Male Shame and the Displeasure of Gender Normativity

Conclusion: Biosocial Subjectivation Reconsidered


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