Biological ties and the Gramscian theory of reproduction

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

Ezio Di Nucci - Other

Abstract: This paper argues that we should be critical of the boom in reproductive technologies, even though it widens access to parenthood to particularly vulnerable groups, such as for example LGBTQ+ or people with fertility problems. Further – on a plausible reading of Gramsci – we should be critical exactly because of the progress, in terms of inequality, that reproductive technologies allow for. Why? Because IVF and similar solutions do not just broaden access to parenthood but rather broaden access to biological parenthood. And a preference for biological ties replicates, reinforces and therefore also entrenches patriarchal oppression, because it perpetuates the normative myth of the intimate bond between mother and child, thereby piling up pressure on girls and women. This is where the argument becomes disjunctive: in its weaker version, concerns about the role that biological ties play in gender discrimination, sexism and patriarchal oppression simply outweigh the other inequality concerns about equal access to parenthood. Alternatively, in its stronger Gramscian version, the claim is that widening and democratizing access to parenthood is a waste of emancipatory potential. On this stronger reading, reproductive technologies are propping up the patriarchy in a structurally similar way in which worker rights are propping up late capitalism.
2 May 2022


NameDepartment of Anthropology
Date10/11/2006 → …
LocationØster Farimagsgade 5, Opgang E
CityKøbenhavn K

ID: 304582473