Science as father? Sex and gender in the age of reproductive technologies
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Original versionThe European Journal of Women's Studies 2002, 9(4):381-399 10.1177/13505068020090040201
The new reproductive technologies affect several of our conceptual distinctions, and most basically the one between nature and culture. This includes the understanding of reproduction as natural, biological processes and of the body as a product of nature. Nature and culture has been a basic conceptual distinction in Western culture and it is paralleled in the division between sex, understood as nature, and gender, understood as culture. The process of reproduction is central to the understanding of sexual difference, in the sense that the ability to conceive and give birth to children are generally considered to be features which distinguish woman from man.Therefore changes in this process provide us with empirical material for exploring changes in people's understanding of sex and gender. The article explores reproductive technology as a provider of new cultural models for understanding the relationship between nature and culture and thereby the distinction of sex/nature and gender/culture.