The normativity of nature: morality, variability and kinship in the gamete exchange

Ariza, Lucia. 2013. The normativity of nature: morality, variability and kinship in the gamete exchange. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The thesis examines the conditions under which nature is normatively
performed in Argentinean fertility clinics. Looking at the use of donated gametes as one particularly telling assisted procreation practice hailed as de-naturalising, even more than ‘conventional’ in vitro fertilisation, the ‘facts of life’, the thesis explores the extent to which ‘nature’ may still be implicated in donor conception. This overarching question is answered through the focus on three key problems. These are, first, the attempt to produce exchanges of reproductive material as
moral, non-economic exchanges; second, the effort taken to produce physical coherence between parents and donor children; and, third, the endeavour to ensure that the population comes out as naturally varied given that this is prescribed by the healthiness of genetic variation. In dealing with these three sets of issues, the analyses presented in this thesis prove that in Argentine fertility medicine nature is normatively enacted, materialised as a construct that guides how medicine is performed, while producing as its results the nature of individuals and populations as pertaining to abstract and concrete kinds. These
kinds encompass, in the former case, the donor and the recipient, the sibling, the offspring, and the fertility doctor, while the latter refers to the normative enforcement of a certain version of Argentine Whiteness, as a concrete kind which is preserved and prioritised.

The thesis subscribes epistemologically and methodologically to the
studies of science and technology, from whom it takes an interest in the material workings of science, and with which it shares an understanding of reality as enacted in sociomaterial arrangements that include the agency of humans and nonhumans. Looking at such investments, and making use of the notion of normativity, the thesis makes a contribution to the study of kinship and reproductive technologies from a material perspective.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Assisted reproduction, gamete donation, infertility, Argentina, normativity

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Date Deposited:

24 May 2013 07:16

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 13:43


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