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Adjusting the analytical aperture: propositions for an integrated approach to the social study of reproductive technologies.

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Dow, Katharine 


The ever-expanding availability of reproductive technologies, the continued roll-out of 'family planning' and maternity services across low- and middle-income settings and the rapid development of the fertility industry mean that it is more likely than ever that individuals, especially women and gender non-conforming people, will engage with more than one RT at some point in their life. These multiple engagements with RTs will affect users' expectations and uptake, as well as the technologies' availability, commercial success, ethical status and social meanings. We argue that an integrated approach to the study of RTs and their users not only makes for better research, but also more politically conscious research, which questions some of the ideological precepts that have led to reproduction being parcelled out into biomedical specialisations and a disproportionate focus on particular forms of reproduction in particular disciplines within public health and social science research. We offer this article as part of a wider movement in the study of reproduction and reproductive technologies, which takes inspiration from the reproductive justice framework to address forms of exclusion, discrimination and stratification that are perpetuated in the development and application of reproductive technologies and the ways in which they are studied and theorised.


Funder: Fondation Brocher; doi:

Funder: Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies / Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement (IHEID)


Gender, Interdisciplinarity, Life course, Reproductive justice, Reproductive technologies

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Wellcome Trust (209829/Z/17/Z)
Brocher Foundation, Switzerland