Recoding Reproductive Politics: Tech-Infrastructures and Reproductive Regulation at the U.S. Border

Tillyard, Madeleine Grace. 2021. Recoding Reproductive Politics: Tech-Infrastructures and Reproductive Regulation at the U.S. Border. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Recoding Reproductive Politics examines the role of networked digital infrastructures and the technology industry in reproductive politics and processes. The project traces the ways that ongoing historic regimes of gendered and racialised reproductive regulation in the United States are increasingly co-produced with information infrastructures in the context of networked societies and specifically in the border state of Florida. The thesis offers an original contribution to the fields of feminist theory, science and technology studies (STS) and internet studies by ontologically and empirically disrupting academic and common-sense understandings of what constitutes a reproductive technology. Specifically, this project explores reproductive technologies that act ‘beyond’ individualised reproductive bodies, at the level of the body politic. I coin the term ‘technologies of reproductive regulation’ as a descriptor for these processes that act by way of the social body and govern the terms, spaces and conditions of reproductive life, in keeping with the state’s bio-necropolitical logics. Moreover, this thesis examines how in the information age, technologies of reproductive regulation are co-produced with tech-infrastructures and other organisational actors. Extensive fieldwork provides substantiation of these dynamics as they unfold historically and currently in the U.S. border state of Florida. Through the prism of the field site, this thesis explores tech-driven gentrification, border policing technologies and the emerging digital strategies of the antiabortion movement. The project examines the co-production and increasing reliance of the state and political groups on information infrastructures and the technology industry in order to assemble technologies of reproductive regulation in the information age. Drawing on these empirical examples, I argue that the national border in the US case, zoning regulations and gentrification processes alongside attempts to block access to abortion care are ‘reproductive technologies’ designed to reproduce the settler state. The conclusion drawn calls attention to the ways that tech-infrastructures and reproductive politics in the United States are mutually constituted and undergirded by white patriarchal and settler colonialist logics, through a close analysis of how these entanglements naturalise and sediment reproductive hierarchies and inequalities.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Reproductive Politics, United States, Technology, Infrastructures, Feminist Theory, Borders, Bio-Necropolitics.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 September 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Oct 2021 09:12

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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