Beiträge zur Kulturforschung


107. Jahrgang, 1/2011

Erweiterte Fallstudien zu Verwandtschaft und Reproduktionstechnologien. Potenziale einer Ethnografie von Normalisierungsprozessen

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Michi Knecht Maren Klotz Nurhak Polat Stefan Beck


From the 1970s onwards, reproductive medicine made available interventions and treatments that were readily taken up by an increasing number of people “to make kin” in western and “non-western” societies alike. Instead of an unfortunate fate or social problem unwanted childlessness today is seen as a pathological condition that requires medical attention. While there is broad consensus that reproductive medicine is beneficial in principle, new techniques (like pre-implantation diagnosis) regularly trigger heated controversies at the time of their implementation: in public discourses, in legal, political or medical debates as well as in perceptions of patients. Reproductive interventions are perceived as challenging “normal” conception, as disrupting “natural” ontologies, and as questioning ethical consensus. Drawing on ethnographic data from Turkey and Germany, the article comparatively analyzes how different actors respond to these challenges. Using the method of “extended cases” we inquire from a processual perspective how patients use and experience reproductive medicine, how they create “assisted reproductive biographies”; we ask what kinship practices they develop and how they seek support of patient organisations; and we analyze how they modify body images, acquire medical knowledge, reconfigure intimate practices, create new relations and moral obligations. On the basis of these observations the article sets out to theoretically frame normalization practices on an individual, familial, institutional and discursive level.
Keywords: kinship, reproductive technologies, normalization, Turkey, Germany

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