1st Edition

Beyond the Natural Body An Archaeology of Sex Hormones

By Nelly Oudshoorn Copyright 1994
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

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    It is now impossible to imagine a world without sex hormones. Women all over the world take hormonal pills to control their fertility and estrogen and proges­terone have become the most widely used drugs in the history of medicine. But why has the female rather than the male body become increasingly subjected to hormonal treatment? Nelly Oudshoorn challenges the idea that there exists such a thing as a natural body and shows how concepts such as the hormonal body assume the appear­ance of natural phenomena by virtue of the activities of scientists, rather than being rooted in nature. Beyond the Natural Body tells the fascinating story of scientists' search for the ovaries, testes and urine required to develop the hormonal concept; investigating how sex hormones have shaped our understanding of sex and the body, trans­forming science and medicine and ultimately redefining the relationship of women to reproduction. Nelly Oudshoorn concludes by evaluating the mixed blessings of the hormonal revolution.

    1 The Making of Sex Hormones 2 The Marketing of Sex Hormones 3 The Transformation of Sex Hormones into the Pill 4 The Power of Structures that Already Exist Notes, Bibliography


    Nelly Oudshoorn is Assistant Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam.

    'By raising questions about the analytical adequacy of current approaches, the authors develop innovative answers to our sociological understanding of the relationships between the social self, the sequestration of the dead body and the social presence of the dead ... It is an imaginative contribution to the cluster of disciplines that are situated around the dying body' - Bryan S. Turner, University of Cambridge.

    'This stress on historical change and context is more illuminating, in my view, than Tuana's overemphasis on repetition. ... I feel that Oudshoorn's is the more significant of these two books, and deserves to be read. Oudshoorn's work is important in denaturalising even this very 'obvious' difference and extending our knowledge of how gender produces sex.' - Womens Philosophy Review