Bodies of Technology

Women’s Involvement with Reproductive Medicine

Edited by Ann R. Saetnan, Nelly Oudshoorn, and Marta Kirejczyk

“The diverse contributors agree on one thing: in order to assess the cultural appropriation of technology, it is necessary to understand the role played by users in its development and practice. . . . [T]his volume does a nice job of underscoring the links between technology, culture, and genders and showing that a careful reflection on reproductive techniques is sharpened by attention to the details of specific contexts.” —The International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics

Bodies of Technology is based on the premise that technology and society mutually shape one another, and on a concern for women’s health and autonomy. A basic question is one of cultural appropriation: Do technologies take on different shapes, different practices, and have different impacts as they spread from one place to another? By juxtaposing a number of culturally and historically contextualized studies of similar technologies, the editors demonstrate that although technologies globalize by spreading among cultures, they are also localized by the cultures they encounter.

The first part of the book investigates how potential users of hormone-based contraceptives are represented as these technologies are developed in laboratories and field tests. The next section explores the political and economic processes that regulate access to and practices of assisted fertilization. The final section focuses on individual users engaging with fetal diagnostic technologies in clinical practice. Taken as a whole, the book points out the need and the possibilities for women to become directly involved in the shaping of technologies that so strongly affect their health and their daily lives.

Ann R. Saetnan is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Political Science at the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology. Nelly Oudshoorn is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies in Biology at the University of Amsterdam. Marta Kirejczyk is an associate professor in gender and technology in the Department of Philosophy and Social Science at the University of Twente.

Oct 2000
Women’s Health
448 pp.  6 x 9  5 photographs

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Women, Gender, and Health

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