ANTH 2107 Lecture March 14 , 2013
Recap: Anthropology of Reproduction
The anthropology of reproduction explores the social, cultural, and political complexities
involved in human reproduction in contemporary and historical worlds.
Powerful institutions within society such as biomedicine, law, and politics, shape the way people
imagine and manage their reproductive lives, as do global economic and development trends.
o The state of Israel extends financial support for families who want children (only for
particular kinds of families)
The Medicalization of Pregnancy and Childbirth
“Women’s bodies have been scientifically constructed as essentially faulty; their reproductive
bodies as potentially dangerous to babies; childbirth as so fraught with danger as to be
unthinkable” – MacDonald 2007:95
MacDonald: Gender Expectations
Is natural birth the opposite of the standard obstetric management of birth in hospital?
What is the relationship between gender and the midwifery ideal of the natural birth?
Teman, Birthing a Mother
To go beyond the critiques of reproductive technologies, and surrogacy in particular, Teman set
out to understand women’s real experiences
Surrogates used body maps and did “emotional work” to distance themselves from the fetus, to
create bonding opportunities for the intended mother,
Surrogates normalized their role by claiming medical disruptions to their true selves
Aimed to recover their lives and selves quickly after delivery
Pays attention to the role of the location, unique characteristics of Jewish Israel
KINSHIP (relatedness – who is in our family) refers to the social relationships that are typically
derived from the universal human experiences of bearing and rearing children. The two major