Monstrous Extractions: A feminist technoscience studies approach to cross-border reproduction

Link: Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism


A lecture by Dr. Michal Nahman

In 2002, cross-border egg donation between Israel/Palestine and Romania was still a practice in its infancy. At the time, there were no available methodologies and the ethics of studying these multi-sited practices were unclear. Approaches had to be invented. Borrowing from feminist technoscience studies, impurely mixing it with medical and political anthropology, critical race theory and feminist postcolonial theoretical approaches that had been relevant to Britain, I decided my approach would be to ‘follow the egg’ in and out of clinics, newspapers, people’s homes and crucially, in and out of women’s bodies. Amidst the Al Aqsa Intifada, and rising global Islamophobia this was an impure method that did not create research boundaries where societal ones did not exist. In this talk I summarise the research that went into my book Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism (Palgrave, 2013) to reflect on the ethical and methodological implications of a feminist technoscientific approach to globalised reproduction.

Michal Nahman is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the Department of Health and Applied Social Sciences at the University of the West of England. Dr. Nahman’s work mainly centres around the interweaving of reproduction with national, border, migration and economic concerns from a feminist technoscience studies and anthropological perspective. She has published numerous articles in journals such as Science as Culture and European Journal of Women’s Studies. She has also begun to work in visual media, exploring women and men’s experiences of new parenthood in her film: Atomised Mothers: A film about Isolation, ‘Austerity’ and the Politics of Parenthood​.

The lecture is part of a series of research seminars on “Methods and Ethics in Fieldwork”. During these seminars national and international guests will be sharing their ‘story behind the findings’ with researchers from different departments, to have a profound reflection on methodological and ethical questions in performing empirical research.

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