JOSHUA GAMSON. The Belly Mommy and the Fetus Sitter: The Reproductive Marketplace and Unconventional Family Creation

Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

While much academic work has celebrated the transformation and diversification of family forms, when it comes to how those families are made many scholars are much less celebratory.  In this talk, I recount the stories of my own family creation—which involved the “outsourcing” of key processes—in relation to concerns about the encroachment of market logic into aspects of intimate life that had previously been insulated from commercial forces, and about the various social inequalities assisted reproduction relies on and reinforces.  Through these stories, I point to novel forms of intimacy opened up by contemporary reproductive medicine, especially for those for whom the choice to parent remains institutionally and socially controversial, as well as the troubling structural inequalities that underwrite much alternative family creation.  Finally, in telling my own family origin stories, I consider the politics and ethics of storytelling.

Joshua Gamson (PhD, UC Berkeley, 1992) is Professor of Sociology at the University of San Francisco.  He is the author of Claims to Fame:  Celebrity in Contemporary America (California, 1994); Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity (Chicago, 1998); and The Fabulous Sylvester (Henry Holt/Picador, 2005) and numerous articles on social movements, sexualities, and popular culture.