Beyond the Natural Body: An Archaeology of Sex Hormones

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Taylor & Francis, Oct 4, 2003 - Philosophy - 208 pages
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b /b b i Beyond the Natural Body /i /b presents an episode in the history of life sciences that is essential to our current understanding of sex and the body and the relations between gender and science. Since the early decades of this century, the notion of the hormonally-constructed body has become the dominant mode of conceptualizing bodies, particularly female bodies, to such an extent that we now assume that it is a natural phenomenon. This book challenges the idea that there is such as thing as a "natural" body, and demonstrates that it is the process by which scientific claims achieve universal status that constructs such discourses as natural facts. br br b /b b i Beyond the Natural Body /i /b tells the fascinating story of scientists' search for the many tons of ovaries, testes and urine that were required in experiments to develop the hormonal body concept. It traces the origins of sex hormones and follows their development through mass-production as drugs to their eventual transformation into the contraceptive pill. Nelly Oudshoorn argues that the power to control sex and the body is not restricted to the domain of texts and ideologies. In addition, she discusses the chasm that exists between the scientific ideal of universal knowledge and the feminist recognition of cross-cultural differences among women, making the case for localized and user-specific applications of science and technology.

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About the author (2003)

Nelly Oudshoorn is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

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