Biological Relatives

9780822354857: Hardback
Release Date: 15th November 2013

9780822354994: Paperback
Release Date: 15th November 2013

30 illustrations, 1 table

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 376

Series Experimental Futures

Duke University Press Books

Biological Relatives

IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship

Sarah Franklin explores the history and future of in vitro fertilization (IVF) thirty-five years and five million babies after its initial success as a form of technologically-assisted human reproduction.
Hardback / £90.00
Paperback / £23.99

Thirty-five years after its initial success as a form of technologically assisted human reproduction, and five million miracle babies later, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a routine procedure worldwide. In Biological Relatives, Sarah Franklin explores how the normalization of IVF has changed how both technology and biology are understood. Drawing on anthropology, feminist theory, and science studies, Franklin charts the evolution of IVF from an experimental research technique into a global technological platform used for a wide variety of applications, including genetic diagnosis, livestock breeding, cloning, and stem cell research. She contends that despite its ubiquity, IVF remains a highly paradoxical technology that confirms the relative and contingent nature of biology while creating new biological relatives. Using IVF as a lens, Franklin presents a bold and lucid thesis linking technologies of gender and sex to reproductive biomedicine, contemporary bioinnovation, and the future of kinship.

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction. Relatively Biological 1
1. Miracle Babies 31
2. Living Tools 68
3. Embryo Pioneers 102
4. Reproductive Technologies 150
5. Living IVF 185
6. IVF Live 221
7. Frontier Culture 258
8. After IVF 297
Afterword 311
Notes 313
References 333
Index 351

Sarah Franklin holds the Professorship in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy and coeditor (with Susan McKinnon) of Relative Values: Reconfiguring Kinship Studies, both also published by Duke University Press.

"A model of what interdisciplinary intelligence can accomplish. Across several fields Biological Relatives shows how specific platforms or tools in the history of reproduction, kinship, and gender have provided discursive liftoff for further sites of knowledge and exploration. One of the strengths of this gripping account lies in that specificity, beginning with the iconic IVF and its epistemic work: a brilliant and exhilarating reprise of what we thought we knew, but now know differently."—Marilyn Strathern, University of Cambridge

"Hurtled with eggs, sperm, embryos, technicians, scientists, photographers, and critters of many species, including humans, we are all redone by the histories and practices of IVF. Sarah Franklin makes vivid how IVF is a kin-making, person-making, and world-making engine, one that refabricates the facts of life into bundles of kin and bundles of kin into facts of life. No wonder I read Biological Relatives as a fabulous work of SF in all its tones—string figures, speculative fabulation, science fact. Because Franklin's multigeneric gifts are generous, my debts are large."—Donna Haraway, University of California, Santa Cruz

"[A] well-researched, conceptually rigorous, and thoroughly interdisciplinary discussion of new reproductive technologies. . . . This cutting-edge volume is essential for scholars and practitioners interested in the ethics of reproductive technologies, technology theory case studies, sex/gender reinforcing and challenging practices, and medical humanities in general. . . . Highly recommended. Upper division undergraduates and above."

S. M. Weiss
Choice

“Being well informed about these areas of contemporary biology requires familiarity with both natural and social sciences. Sarah Franklin’s Biological Relatives provides a much-needed account of one such area…. Her range is wide, but her examples are precise and disciplined. Reading the book illuminates ways to see across divides, and there are some striking images along the way.”
 

Charis Thompson
Science Magazine

Biological Relatives presents a complex examination of a topic that has been too often simplified or fragmented and provides feminist scholars of science with a new framework through which to analyze the relationship between biology and technology in a post-IVF age. . . . The book’s willingness to dwell with the many ambiguities of IVF—what Franklin refers to as its ‘curious’ elements—thus makes an important contribution to our understanding of what it means to live in a post-IVF age.”
 

Sara DiCaglio
Configurations

Biological Relatives goes far beyond earlier studies to provide new and valuable insight into the history of IVF. These include new perspectives on both complex evolutionary processes of biology and the overall historical descriptions about feminist debates over IVF in connection with the notion of kinship and women’s actual voices. Finally, Franklin successfully cultivates a novel and constructive account of the dynamics, complexity and hybridity in the history of IVF in connection with related science fields and social and cultural areas.”

Kaori Sasak
Medical History

“Franklin’s rigorously researched and exhaustive look at ‘the normalization of I.V.F.’ grounds the procedure firmly in technology and science, not to mention philosophy, anthropology, agriculture, feminism, and history.”

Sarah Erdreich
Lilith

"Biological Relatives would fit well in advanced undergraduate courses in medical anthropology and sociology, gender and reproduction, feminist theory, and social theories of technology. It will also be invaluable in graduate coursework across a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, feminist studies, and science and technology studies, as well as for researchers and clinicians who work at the perpetually unstable frontiers of reproduction, bioinnovation, and kinship."

Crista Craven & Thomas Tierney
American Ethnologist

“Not since Donna J. Haraway’s 1997 book, Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©Meets_OncoMouse™ have I read such a major contribution to theorizing technoscience. … The book leaves us with a cultural rendering and an archeology of a technology, from the ambivalent relations with its form as a reproductive technology to the many ways that IVF is also a tool itself in the coevolving biotech industries. IVF is not only biologically reproductive, but also technologically reproductive. This book should be read by anyone interested in theorizing biotechnology and the future of social relations.”

Laura Mamo
American Journal of Sociology

Biological Relatives amounts to an impressive and important exploration of the curious world, effects, and various 'lives' of IVF. It is a book that dares to be multidimensional and non-reductionist, and which shows the complexity of relationships, biological and technological as well as familial. … [A] much-needed, important, and sensitive analysis of IVF and the changed relationships it introduces to biology, technology, and kinship.”

Petra Nordqvist
Technology and Culture

[T]his exciting book delivers a powerful theory of biology and technology that challenges scholars of Science and Technology Studies, the anthropology of kinship, and gender and feminist theory to consider and respond. It will be a must-read for any scholar of IVF,
synthetic biology, the anthropology of science and nature, or gender studies.”
 

Ian Vincent McGonigle
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute