The Business of Being Made
The Temporalities of Reproductive Technologies in Psychoanalysis and Culture
New Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in PsychoanalysisNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books Network May 28, 2016 Anne Wennerstrand
In this interview, Dr. Katie Gentile discusses the research, writing and creative thinking about compulsory parenthood and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (or ARTs) that animate the essays appearing in The Business of Being Made: The Temporalities of Reproductive Technologies in Psychoanalysis and Culture (Routledge, 2015). It is striking that while personhood amendments proliferate and sovereignty over the reproductive body shifts frighteningly more and more to the State, a global, bio-medical industrial complex has arisen comprising ARTs, surrogate pregnancy, egg/sperm donation and the like. Gentile points out the rise of the post-9/11 fetishization of the fetus a receptacle for all our vulnerabilities which must be protected at all costs in the face of the hyper-object: the threat of global catastrophe looming large. ARTs and its associated industries manufacture hope and optimism in conceiving babies at any cost (for those of privilege) while serving to further elevate, protect and fetishize the fetus. It’s a space of repro-futurity in which life is constructed around achieving reproductive milestones. ARTs have become another neoliberal trope to imagine life without limits as they have been subsumed into ordinary medicine for all women. With ARTs there is often no space to acknowledge loss, shame, uncertainty and the sexual re-traumatization that often occur during the process. On the plus side, ARTs offer the promise and opportunity of biological parenthood to marginalized people (for example, trans men) resulting in diverse family configurations. Gentile asks can other spaces be nurtured so that babies are not the main focus of generativity, especially for women? How can we better theorize childfree lives of creativity that are not seen as displaced parenting but generativity for its own pleasure?