The Business of Being Made: The temporalities of reproductive technologies, in psychoanalysis and culture, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Business of Being Made

The temporalities of reproductive technologies, in psychoanalysis and culture, 1st Edition

Edited by Katie Gentile


254 pages

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The Business of Being Made is the first book to critically analyze assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) from a transdisciplinary perspective integrating psychoanalytic and cultural theories. It is a ground-breaking collection exploring ARTs through diverse methods including interview research, clinical case studies, psychoanalytic based ethnography, and memoir. Gathering clinicians and researchers who specialize in this area, this book engages current research in psychoanalysis, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and debates in feminist, queer and cultural theory about affect, temporality, and bodies.

With psychoanalysis as its fulcrum, The Business of Being Made explores the social constructions and personal experiences of ARTs. Katie Gentile frames the cultural context, exploring the ways ARTs have become a complex form of playing with time, attempting to manufacture a hopeful future in the midst of growing global uncertainty. The contributors then present a range of varied experiences related to ARTs, including:

  • Interviews with women and men undergoing ARTs;
  • A psychoanalytic memoir of male infertility;
  • Clinical research and work with transgender, gay and lesbian patients creating new Oedipal constellations, the experiences of LBGTQ people within the medical system and the variety of families that emerge;
  • Research on the experiences of egg donors (now central to the business of ARTs) and a corresponding clinical case study of successful egg donation;
  • The experiences of ongoing failure which is the often unacknowledged for ART procedures;
  • How and when people choose to stop using ARTs;
  • A psychoanalytic ethnography of a neonatal intensive care unit populated in part with the babies created through these technologies and their parents, haggard and in shock after years of failed attempts. 

Full of original material, The Business of Being Made  conveys the ambivalence of these technologies without simplifying their complicated consequences for the bodies of individuals, the family, cultures, and our planet. This book will be relevant to clinicians, medical and psychological personnel working in assisted reproductive technologies and infertility, as well as academics working in the fields of sociology, literature, queer and feminist theories and at the intersections of cultural, critical and psychoanalytic theories.


"In this unique, and insightful set of essays edited by Katie Gentile, the experience of assisted reproductive technologies, ARTS, is given a multi-disciplinary treatment that brings cultural criticism and psychoanalysis into an encounter that transforms them both. Taking account of the cultural, political, economic and psychological contexts of ARTS, The Business of Being Made refuses a simple taking-sides in debates around biomedicalization and reprofuturisum. It not only gives an in-depth view of the potentialities as well as the risks, the disappointments, the trauma for those who engage with these technologies; it does so without forgetting the implications of ARTS for sex, gender, race and class differentiations. The essays are a must read for those concerned with the affects of biotechnology on every aspect of life now and in the near future." - Patricia Ticineto Clough, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, Editor of The Affective Turn

"Technology is no longer some thing we hold in our hand or a machine that sits on a desk. It threads our minds, it bends our spines. And as this remarkable collection of essays demonstrates, technological bio-power unconsciously pulses, reproducing reproduction and the new world to come. Read and get ready." - Ken Corbett, Author of "Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities" and "A Murder Over A Girl"

"Drawing on the resources of both psychoanalytic and cultural theories, Katie Gentile and her co-authors spotlight the dynamic interplay between neoliberal risk management and cultural narratives of reproductive "failure" and "success." The Business of Being Made offers a fascinating, urgent, and – dare I say - timely exploration of the sometimes contradictory ways assisted reproductive technologies are remaking kinship, subjectivity, and the experience of temporality itself."- Ann Pellegrini, Director, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, New York University

Table of Contents

Section one: Setting up the context by integrating cultural and psychoanalytic theories to explore ARTs

Chapter 1: Introducing the Business of Being Made

Kate Gentile

Chapter 2: Bridging Psychoanalytic and Cultural Times – Using Psychoanalytic Theory to Better Understand how Reprofuturity and Biomedicalization Produce Subjectivities

Kate Gentile

Chapter 3: Situating ARTs in the Cultural Imagination

Katie Gentile

Chapter 4: Producing Temporalities through Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Katie Gentile

Section two: Filling in the Gaps of ARTs

Chapter 5: The Bodies and Bits of (Re)Production: Dilemmas of Egg ‘Donation’ under Neoliberalism.

Michelle Leve

Chapter 6: Male Infertility: The Erection of a Myth, The Myth of an Erection

Adam Kaplan

Chapter 7: Baby Making: It takes an Egg and Sperm and a Rainbow of Genders

Diane Ehrensaft

Chapter 8: The Shadow Side of ART– Babies and Parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Zina Steinberg and Susan Kraemer

Section three: Looking Closely, A Case Study of Egg Donation

Chapter 9: Spoken Through Desire – Maternal Subjectivity and Assisted Reproduction

Tracy Simon

Chapter 10: On Viability and Indebtedness – Or, "Get Away from her you Bitch!" (after Roberto Bolaño)

Stephen Hartman

Chapter 11: Teleplastic Abduction: Subjectivity in the Age of ART or Delirium for Psychoanalysis: Commentary on Simon’s "Spoken Through Desire"

André Lepecki

Chapter 12: Zen and the ART of Making Babies: A Discussion of Tracy Simon’s Paper

Orna Guralnik

Chapter 13: Reply to Commentaries: Lepecki, Hartman and Guralnik

Tracy Simon

Chapter 14: Epilogue – Embodying the Gaps in the Face of Catastrophe and Hyperobjects.

Kate Gentile

About the Editor

Katie Gentile is Professor and Director of the Gender Studies Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is author of the Routledge title Creating bodies: Eating disorders as self-destructive survival, editor of the Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures book series, also from Routledge, and co-editor of the journal Studies in Gender and Sexuality.

About the Series

Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures

Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures is a book series whose scholarship is situated in the transdisciplinary spaces of psychoanalysis and cultural theory. Aiming to illuminate both theorized and lived experiences of gender and sexuality, the series privileges the exploration of human experience as conceived intersectionally; favoring work that sutures categories of difference such as ‘race’, social class, religion and disability. The series aims to attract leading scholars and practitioners from around the globe who are interested in a dialogue between psychoanalysis and the academic study of genders and sexualities. It also seeks to introduce the scholarship of emerging authors who are engaged with psychoanalytic theory and/or practice. 

Several academic presses have created book series specifically examining genders and sexualities from different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. Whilst many take psychoanalytic theory as a foundational form of inquiry, few are edited or written by trained analysts or clinicians. Most such books rely on the work of a standard array of psychoanalytic theorists, i.e. Freud, Lacan, Jung, Guattari, and Laplanche, but may not consider and integrate contemporary psychoanalytic theory as it emerges from the clinic. What is missed is the unique contributions that advances in psychoanalytic theory and clinical work have to offer and, in turn, a way to compel the interest of practicing clinicians and further the knowledge of academics whose interest is captured by traditional psychoanalytic ideas.

Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures brings together contemporary research, theory and practice from both academy and clinic, using psychoanalysis as the fulcrum that complicates and deepens our conceptualizations of genders and sexualities. As a series edited by four individuals whose work spans both the clinical and academic domains, GSMC offers a wider and diverse engagement with newer theories of psychoanalysis. Further, the clinical sensibilities informing this book series make it accessible and useful to a wider audience.

Notes about the Series Editors:

Muriel Dimen, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at New York University, Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and an Executive Editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality. She is the author most recently of the Sexuality Intimacy Power (2003), winner of  the Canadian Psychological Association Goethe Award and the edited collection With Culture in Mind: Psychoanalytic Stories (2011), both from Routledge.  

Katie Gentile is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Gender Studies Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York). She is the author of Creating bodies: Eating disorders as self-destructive survival and The business of being made: The temporalities of reproductive technologies in psychoanalysis and cultures, both from Routledge, and co-editor of the journal Studies in Gender and Sexuality. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on eating disorders, sexual and racial/cultural violence, intimate partner violence, participatory action research, boundary violations, and the cultural and psychic production of temporalities around reproduction and fetal personhood. She is on the faculty of New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, in private practice in New York City, and a violinist who has recorded and toured with a number of bands.

Lisa Baraitser is a Reader in Psychosocial Studies in the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London, and a psychotherapist in independent practice. She is author of Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption (Routledge, 2009); Enduring Time: Care and Waiting in the End Times (2016, forthcoming, Bloomsbury) and the edited collection: A Feeling for Things: Conversations in and around the work of Jane Bennett (Punctum Books, 2016, forthcoming) with Michael O'Rourke. She is co-editor of Studies in the Maternal (Open Library of the Humanities) and Studies in Gender and Sexuality (Taylor and Francis) and co-founder of the international research network MaMSIE (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics). She has published widely on motherhood and maternal subjectivity, gender and sexuality, psychoanalytic theory and temporality.

Stephen Hartman, Ph.D., chairs the faculty at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California and supervises trainees at the Access Institute for Psychological Services in San Francisco where he works in private practice. He is co-editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality and an associate editor for Psychoanalytic Dialogues. Stephen also co-edits the recently launched Psychoanalytic Dialogues Blog: He currently writes about the interface of digital culture and psychoanalysis, and he is the author of several articles that concern the recursive interaction of psychic life with social and political experience.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies