Reassembling Motherhood

Procreation and Care in a Globalized World

Edited by Yasmine Ergas, Jane Jenson, and Sonya Michel

Columbia University Press

Reassembling Motherhood

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Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231170505

336 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $65.00£54.95

Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231538077

336 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $64.99£54.95

Reassembling Motherhood

Procreation and Care in a Globalized World

Edited by Yasmine Ergas, Jane Jenson, and Sonya Michel

Columbia University Press

The word “mother” traditionally meant a woman who bears and nurtures a child. In recent decades, changes in social norms and public policy as well as advances in reproductive technologies and the development of markets for procreation and care have radically expanded definitions of motherhood. But while maternity has become a matter of choice for more women, the freedom to make reproductive decisions is unevenly distributed. Restrictive policies, socioeconomic disadvantages, cultural mores, and discrimination force some women into motherhood and prevent others from caring for their children.

Reassembling Motherhood brings together contributors from across the disciplines to examine the transformation of motherhood as both an identity and a role. It examines how the processes of bearing and rearing a child are being restructured as reproductive labor and care work change around the globe. The authors examine issues such as artificial reproductive technologies, surrogacy, fetal ultrasounds, adoption, nonparental care, and the legal status of kinship, showing how complex chains of procreation and childcare have simultaneously generated greater liberty and new forms of constraint. Emphasizing the tension between the liberalization of procreation and care on the one hand, and the limits to their democratization due to race, class, and global inequality on the other, the book highlights debates that have emerged as these multifaceted changes have led to both the fragmentation and reassembling of motherhood.
What does motherhood mean in the twenty-first century? If you want informed and fascinating answers, read Reassembling Motherhood. A stellar interdisciplinary team of international scholars report on how technological advances, cultural changes, global migration, and variable state policies have transformed mothering. This landmark book will not only shape scholarly research but also instruct policymakers and engage a wide audience. Viviana A. Zelizer, Lloyd Cotsen ’50 Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and author of Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy
This fabulous collection challenges our conventional understanding of motherhood and its connection to bodies, technologies, global migration, and policy, and pushes the debate to the next level. Ergas, Jenson, Michel and their contributing authors masterfully and convincingly trace the dismantling of the traditional notion of motherhood and the expansion of its choices, and how these in turn create different forms of social inequalities, and physical, emotional, and global connections and disconnections. This volume is a must read for anyone interested in the issues of motherhood, care, social inequality, and public policy. Ito Peng, University of Toronto, coeditor of Gender, Migration, and the Work of Care: A Multi-Scalar Approach to the Pacific Rim
Ergas, Jenson, and Michel have edited an important collection that crystallizes the unequal and uneven transformations in the legal, social, economic, and biological relations of motherhood in the twenty-first century. Together, Reassembling Motherhood explores what we know, pushes the boundaries of knowledge, and raises new questions for further research. The collection is provocative in the best sense. Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara, coauthor of Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. Negotiating “Mother” in the Twenty-First Century: Between Choice and Constraint, by Yasmine Ergas, Jane Jenson, and Sonya Michel
1. Certain Mothers, Uncertain Fathers: Placing Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Historical Perspective, by Nara Milanich
2. Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Biological Bottom Line, by Linda G. Kahn and Wendy Chavkin
3. Multiple “Mothers,” Many Requirements for Protection: Children’s Rights and the Status of Mothers in the Context of International Commercial Surrogacy, by Claire Achmad
4. The Borders of Legal Motherhood: Rethinking Access to Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Europe, by Letizia Palumbo
5. Pregnant Bodies and the Subjects of Rights: The Surrogacy–Abortion Nexus, by Yasmine Ergas
6. The Motherless Fetus: Ultrasound Pictures and Their Magic Disappearing Trick, by Anne Higonnet
7. Contracting for Motherhood: Postadoption Visitation Agreements, by Carol Sanger
8. Relinquishment and Adoption in Tamil Society: Mothers’ Experiences with De-kinning, by Pien Bos
9. Marginalized Mothers and Intersecting Systems of Surveillance: Prisons and Foster Care, by Dorothy Roberts
10. Care and Gender, by Martha Albertson Fineman
11. The Double Lives of Transnational Mothers, by Sonya Michel and Gabrielle Oliveira
12. Euro-Orphans and the Stigmatization of Migrant Motherhood, by Helma Lutz
13. The New Maternalism: Children First; Women Second, by Jane Jenson
Afterword: Crossing into the Future, by Alice Kessler-Harris
Contributors
Index

About the Author

Yasmine Ergas is the director of the gender and public policy specialization at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Jane Jenson is professor emerita of political science at the Université de Montréal.

Sonya Michel is professor emerita of history, American studies, and women's studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.