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

The Business of Being Made
The temporalities of reproductive technologies, in psychoanalysis and culture

Edited By

Katie Gentile

ISBN 9780415749411
Published December 17, 2015 by Routledge
266 Pages

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Book Description

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.

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

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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.


"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