Charlotte Faircloth - Studying reproduction and parenting culture: Some anthropological reflections
This paper presents insights from current social science research into the fields of parenting and reproduction. Although seemingly common-sense, this is in fact an unusual combination: whilst studies of ‘parenting culture’ and ‘assisted reproductive technologies’ are now well-established areas of social science scholarship, so far, the potential connections between the two fields have not been significantly explored. Instead, and responding to Almeling’s calls for a more ‘processual’ approach to studying reproduction in order to make clearer contributions to social theory more broadly, this paper begins a dialogue between these mutually relevant bodies of literature, highlighting connections and crosscutting findings. In particular, and in drawing on a range of ethnographic examples, including ‘extended’ breastfeeding and gamete donation in transnational contexts, it focuses on four interlinked themes – Reflexivity, Gender, Expertise and Stratification – to promote a more holistic approach to understanding how children are conceived and cared for within the current ‘Euro-American’ reproductive landscape.