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Open Access Moederschap en materialiteit - Diane, Stephen, Liam en Joel Blood

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In 1998 and 2002, U.K. citizen Diane Blood conceived sons from a sample of her late husband Stephen’s sperm in a private Belgian fertility clinic. Although Stephen’s sperm was illegally harvested from his comatose body in 1995, the British Court of Appeal decided in 1997 that Diane was not to be prevented from consuming commercial infertility service in a European member state pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Rome (1957). As a result, I try to show, Stephen’s sperm was effectively reconstituted as a material resource, passive and dispossessed, for usage in a commercial transaction. This article discusses the ramifications and implications of this case and the developments it pinpoints, and calls for a reconsideration of the consensus view according to which (material) sex and (discursive) gender are seen as distinct from each other, if not altogether opposed to each other. From the perspective of the Diane Blood case, the article revisits the advantages and drawbacks of the sex/gender split in influential writings by Eve Sedgwick and Judith Butler, then to move to indicate a persistent association between an excessive materiality and femininity running from Aristotle to contemporary psychoanalytic theory (Kristeva). After analyzing the paradoxical and anachronistic forms of maternity that inform the Blood case, I conclude that medical, commercial and technological advances have forged the full materialization of the male body and its reproductive capability, thus questioning the very form of gender in the future.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universitair hoofddocent Literatuurwetenschap aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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  • Het Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies is het forum voor de wetenschappelijke problematisering van sekse in relatie tot andere vormen van discriminatie en uitsluiting zoals etniciteit, seksualiteit, klasse of leeftijd. Er worden artikelen in gepubliceerd over gendervraagstukken vanuit alle relevante disciplines die een wetenschappelijke bijdrage leveren aan debatten over gender en intersectionaliteit in Nederland en Vlaanderen. Het tijdschrift is een interdisciplinair medium op het kruispunt van maatschappij-, cultuur-, geestes-, gezondheids- en natuurwetenschappen. Het verschijnt vier keer per jaar en biedt wetenschappelijke artikelen en daarnaast ook interviews, boekrecensies, discussiedossiers en opiniërende artikelen in het Nederlands en Engels. Artikelen worden dubbelblind beoordeeld door externe deskundigen.

    The Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health and science. The editorial staff is open to articles about gender issues from different disciplines, and also accepts English articles. As well as publishing articles, the journal includes essays, columns (short topical and polemical articles), interviews, reviews, summaries of dissertations and conference reports. Articles are subjected to a double blind peer review process.
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