Reproduction and Society: Interdisciplinary Readings

reproduction and society cover

A collection of essays, framed with original introductions, Reproduction and Society: Interdisciplinary Readings helps students to think critically about reproduction as a social phenomenon. Divided into six rich and varied sections, this book offers students and instructors a broad overview of the social meanings of reproduction and offers opportunities to explore significant questions of how resources are allocated, individuals are regulated, and how very much is at stake as people and communities aim to determine their own family size and reproductive experiences. This is an ideal core text for courses on reproduction, sexuality, gender, the family, and public health.

“I love this book! Reproduction and Society is a treasure trove of feminist, sociological, and political knowledge about human reproduction. With a range of topics and exquisite attention to inequality, it is sure to become a staple in courses on sex and gender, reproduction, bodies, families, and more. The contributors are leaders in the field and together, their chapters advance our knowledge of reproductive health and justice in the 21st century.” – Monica J. Casper, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona, and author of The Making of the Unborn Patient: A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery

“This book is a timely and praiseworthy compilation of articles spanning 50 years that explore the dialectic between private reproduction and public policy. Because the control and manipulation of women’s bodies are as much a matter of culture and politics as about biology, teaching about the complexity of reproductive politics is never easy. Pedagogical attempts are more difficult due to the lack of aggregated materials accessibly written for both professors and students. This book contributes substantially to the scholarship on reproductive politics, and is impressive for its diversity and breadth of contributors.” Loretta J. Ross, Former National Coordinator of SisterSong

“Joffe and Reich have performed a brilliant act of intellectual beneficence. This one volume collects an extraordinary set of insights and analyses, facilitating a rich understanding the contours and content of reproductive politics today. Since dipping into Reproduction and Societyonce, I have returned to it again and again.”Rickie Solinger, Historian, and author of Reproductive Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2013)

“A collection of great value not only to teachers, not only to anyone concerned with women’s ability to be full citizens in a democracy, but also to anyone concerned with today’s powerful right-wing attacks on health and family wellbeing. It includes the very best thinking on these issues available today.” – Linda Gordon, History, New York University, author of The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America

“In this exciting new interdisciplinary collection, two leading scholars of reproduction assemble essential readings on contraception, abortion, pregnancy, and birth. Informative, nuanced essays introduce students to the intersecting politics of reproduction, demonstrating that these biological processes are also fundamentally social. Reproduction and Society will be a valuable addition to courses on family, gender, sexuality, technology, health, and medicine.”Rene Almeling, Sociology, Yale University, and the author of Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm.

“What a brilliant collection of cutting edge chapters that skillfully describe the critical challenges for those working on reproductive justice, evidence-based policy making, and the persistent inequities that face women in particular – whether because of gender, class or race. Faculty in schools of public health and women, gender and sexuality studies programs will find this the best such collection to date. More comprehensive than anything of its kind I have ever seen.”Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves

“In Reproduction and Society, editors Carole Joffe and Jennifer Reich have compiled an impressive ‘best of’ collection of readings on the social and political significance of reproduction. Contributors from diverse disciplinary and professional backgrounds have applied themselves to contraception, pregnancy, policy and more; the result is a volume that is as compelling as it is informative.” – Jeanne Flavin, Sociology, Fordham University, Board President, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and author of Our Bodies, Our Crimes: the Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America

“Feminist sociologists Carole Joffe and Jennifer Reich have created a timely and valuable resource that illuminates the personal and political implications of key reproductive experiences. As editors, they have drawn from outstanding scholarship in a range of disciplines to examine contraception, abortion, assisted reproduction, pregnancy and childbirth through diverse, interrelated sociological lenses: feminist analyses of governance and institutional control; intersectionality, reproductive justice and social movements. If we are ever to achieve reproductive justice in the U.S., we need this book for its informed and thoughtful consideration of the complexity of issues facing women and men whose reproductive options are shaped by culture, ideology and politics. This book is a must-read for the generation most affected by U.S. reproductive policies—future parents—and is destined to become a classic in the sociology of reproduction.”Christine H. Morton, author of Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-Emergence of Woman-Supported Birth in America, founder of, and research sociologist at Stanford University

Reproduction and Society represents the only effort that I have seen to create a clear and comprehensive framework for understanding the controversies in reproductine health and place them logically within their much larger social context… It should be required reading for any student of human rights, gender issues, medical care and social justice, as well as phsyicians, lawyers, public health students, nursing students and/or sociologists… It is critical to read every one of the pages of this book, which as so much to teach about the complexities and interwoven issues in human reproduction.” – Suzanne Poppema, advisory board member of the University of Washington Wome’s Center, USA, and founding board member of Physicians for Productive Health