This book analyses the world of selective reproduction – the politics of who gets to legitimately reproduce the future – by a cross-cultural analysis of three modes of ‘controlling’ birth: contraception, reproductive violence, and repro-genetic technologies. The premise is that as fertility rates decline worldwide, the fervour to control fertility, and fertile bodies, does not dissipate; what evolves is the preferred mode of control. Although new technologies, for instance those that assist conception and/or allow genetic selection, may appear to be the antithesis of violent versions of population control, the book demonstrates that both are part of the same continuum. Much as all population control policies target and vilify (Black) women for their over-fertility, and coerce/induce them into subjecting their bodies to state and medical surveillance, assisted reproductive technologies and repro-genetic technologies have a similar and stratified burden of blame and responsibility based on gender, race, class, and caste. The book includes contributions from two postcolonial nations – South Africa and India – where the history of colonialism and the economics of neoliberal markets allow for some parallel moments of selecting who gets to legitimately reproduce the future. The book provides a critical interdisciplinary and cutting-edge dialogue around the interconnected issues that shape reproductive politics in an ostensibly ‘post-population control’ era. The contributions range from gender studies, sociology, medical anthropology, politics, science and technology studies, to theology, public health, epidemiology and women’s health, with the aim of facilitating an interdisciplinary dialogue around the interconnected modes of controlling birth and practices of neo-eugenics.
chapter, I use the literature on racial matching and neo-eugenics as theoretical frameworks to make the argument that race is central to the egg donation process and this naturalisation of race in the process is a form of neo-eugenics. The repercussions of this resemble nineteenth- and twentieth-century eugenics and a desire to maintain the myth of racial purity, which would thereby indicate a possible resurgence of eugenics by reproductive technologies. Explorations such as this are relevant to understanding the ways in which race still asserts itself in our post
In the 1880s, Alexander Graham Bell feared that deaf people’s intermarriage
might lead to a deaf race. In the early 2000s, geneticist Walter Nance
feared, on the contrary, that genetic technology might be genocidal for Deaf
culture. These two figures mark the beginning and the end point of this
cultural history of hereditary deafness research. In the century between,
scientists made immense progress in identifying the genetic mechanisms
underlying the inheritance of deafness. They uncovered that there were not
only one or two responsible genes, but hundreds of different forms and
syndromes. Yet there is a twist in this simple story of progress. What it
means to carry one of the genes for deafness, and what should be done about
it, differed and differs greatly. What has influenced these perceptions
during the past century and what is at stake in researching genetic
deafness? How, during the past century, have ideas about disability,
difference, and citizenship changed, where did eugenics end, and, perhaps,
neo-eugenics begin, and what do genes mean for our identity?
during the colonial and postcolonial periods have been well documented (Ahluwalia, 2008 ; Hodges, 2010 ; Tarlo, 2003 ; Sarkar, 2002 ; Rao, 2010 ; Jolly, 1994 , Nadkarni, 2014 ).
Population control through forced sterilisation may be conceived as a eugenic measure. In the more recent past, neo-eugenics includes both the use of biomedicine through new/assisted reproductive technologies and a simultaneous Ayurvedic neo-eugenics (VGV). Within the more recent drive toward building a Hindutva nation, Hindus are conceived as a pure-bred ‘race
explore the racialisation of the South African egg provision market. While Moll highlights how the egg providers situate themselves within markets that commodify and racialise their reproductive tissues, Moyo argues that the desire for racial matching, by agencies and recipients, and the routinised reinscription of race is a clear indication of neo-eugenics.
As I write this introduction, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, wreaking havoc in all parts of the world, through its various strains and surges. It highlights the biosocial
decades these women had been told that their excessive fertility was what was making their families, and in fact the entire nation, poor. Through long-term injectables and sterilisation, they had been coerced into ‘choosing’ not to reproduce. Even when they needed to, they could not afford proper medical care for their own pregnancy and birth. Suddenly, this same class of women was being treated to the most sophisticated biomedical technologies because they were birthing children for other, richer, and often whiter parents to keep. This is what I called ‘neo-eugenics
minorities and assisted reproduction of the upper-class (Hartmann, 2006 as cited in Pande, 2016 ), Pande ( 2016 : 250) argues that ‘Neo-eugenics then becomes the new subtle form of eugenics whereby the neoliberal notion of consumer choice justifies promotion of assisted reproductive services for the rich, and at the same time, by portraying poor people (often in the global south) as strains on the world's economy and environment, justifies aggressive anti-natal policies’. This, Pande remarks, is a ‘fundamental paradox’ whereby the production of humans is dependent on the
How haplogroups are mobilised in the re-writing of origin stories in the Indian media
not more than two children. News reports note that the Population Control Bill is largely discussed through the narrative of the Muslim population overtaking the Hindus (Purohit, 2019 ).
See Kalpana Wilson's paper on the reproductive politics in BJP led India, and the conflation of caste-based thinking and neo-eugenics ( 2018 ). Notably, the population-based focus on reproductive control has included the lower castes and lower
Making white egg providers in the repro-hub of South Africa
Reproductive Biomedicine Online , 23 : 5 , 618–25 .
Pande , A.
( 2014 ). Wombs in Labor: Transactional Commercial Surrogacy in India . New York : Columbia University Press .
Pande , A.
( 2015 ). Global reproductive inequalities, neo-eugenics and commercial surrogacy in India , Current Sociology
64 : 2 , 1