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Changing Human Reproduction
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Changing Human Reproduction
Social Science Perspectives

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November 1992 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Test tube babies. In-vitro fertilization. Fertility pills. These and other methods of reproduction are spawning controversy in theological, ethical, and feminist arenas. Surprisingly, little research or publications on the social and cultural consequences of such procedures exist. Changing Human Reproduction focuses on these neglected areas and stresses the importance of viewing human reproduction as both a biological and a social event. Drawing on methods from history, sociology, and anthropology, the contributors analyze the changes in social structure and culture which have been initiated by the new reproductive techniques. They also describe how our ideas of how babies are conceived--and what it means to be a parent or relative--have all become more complex in light of these methods. Changing Human Reproduction will be essential reading for students, researchers, and professionals in medical sociology, health, nursing, sociology, family studies, and women's studies. "This is a well-timed, thought-provoking book." -Madeline Simms, Lately Senior Research Officer, Institute for Social Studies in Medical Care, London "There are two features of this collection which make it particularly impressive. One is the way in which it consistently emphasizes public health as much as hospital medicine. . . . The other feature is the way in which the relationship between the culture and economy of lay health care--the voices from below--and professional medicine--the voices from above--is consistently held in view. . . . There are many things for sociologists to enjoy in this book. . . . In describing how things were and reminding us how things could have been different, many of these essays also encourage us to think how different things could be." --Sociology of Health & Illness "This book is a welcome addition to the now considerable literature on the new reproductive technologies. Its six contributors draw from the disciplines of history, anthropology, and sociology, to present a long overdue social science perspective." --New Generation "[This book is] impressive in both its style and breadth of issues discussed. . . . Changing Human Reproduction is essential reading for anyone following such a research agenda, as well as for teachers interested in helping students grasp some of the major social and cultural implications of the latest developments in science and technology as applied to human reproduction." --Cecilia Benoit, University of Victoria "The book will be of use to clinicians and sociologists who are involved in the organisation providing assisted reproduction or carry out research in assisted reproduction." --Indian Journal of Medical Research
Meg Stacey et al
Introduction
What is the Social Science Perspective?  
Meg Stacey
Social Dimensions of Assisted Reproduction
Naomi Pfeffer
From Private Patients to Privatization
Sarah Franklin
Making Sense of Missed Conceptions
Anthropological Perspectives on Unexplained Infertility  
Frances Price
Having Triplets, Quads or Quins
Who Bears the Responsibility?  
Erica Haimes
Gamete Donation and the Social Management of Genetic Origins
Marilyn Strathern
The Meaning of Assisted Kinship
Meg Stacey et al
Conclusion

`Important because it demonstrates plainly the importance of social science perspectives in artificial reproduction, and shows how they may influence ethcial as well as practical considerations. What is so often ignored nowadays is that birth is as much a social event as a biological one, so that biological interventions have social consequences' - Bulletin of Medical Ethics

`A welcome addition to the now considerable literature on the new reproductive technologies' - New Generation

`The chapters, by acknowledged authorities in their fields, in this excellent book are taken from papers given at the 1990 British Assocition for the Advancement of Science annual conference. The introduction, by Meg Stacey, sets out the need for investigations which expand critical awareness. It also sets out the two broad themes, taken largely from anthropology, of what is natural, and kinship and relatedness, which both implicitly and explicitly are the threads which link the six chapters of the book together. She discusses the way in which social science research has been neglected in the `scientific revolution in human reproduction', the teaming of `real science with obstetrics', and the ways in which it could help form a better understanding of the social and cultural values which will emanate from the new reproductive technologies... The overriding issue in this book is that the medical and scientific new reproductive technologies must begin to address the cultural and social implications of their work' - Sociology


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