Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies

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MIT Press, 2005 - Science - 360 pages
2 Reviews

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) makes babies and parents at once. Drawing on science and technology studies, feminist theory, and historical and ethnographic analyses of ART clinics, Charis Thompson explores the intertwining of biological reproduction with the personal, political, and technological meanings of reproduction. She analyzes the "ontological choreography" at ART clinics -- the dynamics by which technical, scientific, kinship, gender, emotional, legal, political, financial, and other matters are coordinated -- using ethnographic data to address questions usually treated in the abstract. Reproductive technologies, says Thompson, are part of the increasing tendency to turn social problems into biomedical questions and can be used as a lens through which to see the resulting changes in the relations between science and society.

After giving an account of the book's disciplinary roots in science and technology studies and in feminist scholarship on reproduction, Thompson comes to the ethnographic heart of her study. She develops her concept of ontological choreography by examining ART's normalization of "miraculous" technology (including the etiquette of technological sex); gender identity in the assigned roles of mother and father and the conservative nature of gender relations in the clinic; the naturalization of technologically assisted kinship and procreative intent; and patients' pursuit of agency through objectification and technology. Finally, Thompson explores the economies of reproductive technologies, concluding with a speculative and polemical look at the "biomedical mode of reproduction" as a predictor of future relations between science and society.


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Review: Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies

User Review  - Goodreads

Strong introductory chapters on theory and methodology (STS and feminist scholarship), extremely well researched. Adequate-to-dreadful academic prose. I can't recall an academic book I've fallen asleep reading so many times. Read full review

Review: Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies

User Review  - Goodreads

You are born, you grow, you reproduce and then you die; people might think that this are the basic stages of a life circle. If you are born you are sure that one day you will die but that every person ... Read full review


Making Parents Selective Pronatalism Ontological Choreography a Biomedical Mode of Reproduction Methods Reading This Book and Where I Stand
Disciplinary Stakes
Science and Society Some Varieties of Science and Technology Studies
Fertile Ground Feminists Theorize Reproductive Technologies
Ontological Choreography
Techniques of Normalization Reproducing the ART Clinic
Is Man to Father as Woman Is to Mother? Masculinity Gender Performativity and Social DisOrder
Strategic Naturalizing Kinship Race and Ethnicity
Sex Drugs and Money The Public Privacy and the Monopoly of Desperation
The Sacred and Profane Human Embryo A Biomedical Mode of Reproduction?

Agency through Objectification Subjectivity and Technology

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About the author (2005)

Charis Thompson is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

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