Download Embodied Progress: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception by Sarah Franklin PDF

By Sarah Franklin

New reproductive applied sciences, corresponding to in vitrio fertilization, were the topic of severe public dialogue and debate world wide. as well as tough moral, ethical, own and political questions, new applied sciences of assisted notion additionally elevate novel socio-cultural dilemmas. How are parenthood, kinship and procreation being redefined within the context of recent reproductive applied sciences? Has reproductive selection turn into a part of patron tradition? Embodied Progress bargains a distinct point of view on those and different cultural dimensions of assisted perception innovations. in response to ethnographic examine in Britain, this learn foregrounds the reviews of ladies and who suffer IVF, while additionally asking how such reports will be variously understood.

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Extra info for Embodied Progress: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception

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As both Delaney (1986, 1991) and Coward (1983) illustrate, debates about conception have a privileged place in the history of anthropology. From the late-nineteenth century onwards, ‘accurate’ knowledge of physical paternity served as a primary measure of progress towards civilisation. According to the evolutionary view, the difference between barbarity and civility was precisely indexed by knowledge of ‘the facts of life’. As noted above, ‘correct’ knowledge of physical paternity was read as evidence of the triumph of intellect and reason over the hindrances of instinct, animality and savagery.

The premise of this formulation was Leach’s own dogmatic assertion that it was ‘highly improbable on common sense grounds that genuine “ignorance” of the basic facts of physiological paternity should anywhere be a cultural fact’ (1967:41, emphasis added). In defence of this assertion, he argued that there are only a very few groups who allegedly do not know the ‘facts of physiological paternity’; that these exceptional groups are not isolated from other peoples who ‘do know’ but are often in close contact with them; and that ‘human beings…have displayed a collective problem solving intelligence of an astoundingly high order’ and, everywhere ‘display an almost obsessional interest in matters of sex and kinship’ (1967:41).

In the matriarchal societies envisaged by Bachofen, the principles were the exact opposite of those arising with the triumph of ‘father-right’ in an epochal battle of the sexes, postulated as the origin of the modern social order. Under mother- right, the left hand had prominence over the right, the moon over the sun, the emotion over the intellect, and sentiment over reason. All of these features were seen to derive from women’s reproductive role in bearing and raising children, which caused her to be religiously-minded, sensuous and irrational.

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