Carolin Schurr is professor of Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Bern. She is the principal investigator of the SNSF project "Reproductive Geopolitics" project. MORE
Laura Perler is a postdoctoral researcher in Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Bern. In her research she investigates inequalities in relation to reproductive technologies and the Swiss asylum system. MORE
Nora Komposch is a PhD student and assistant in Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Bern. She researches about migrant workers in Spain's strawberry industry. MORE
Mirko Winkel is the coordinator of the mLAB. The artist and curator teaches at the University of Bern and other places with the aim of synthesizing art with scientific research and socio-political concerns.
Yolinliztli Pérez-Hernández is a PostDoc in Social and Cultural Geography. She researches the experiences of sterilization (tubal ligation and hysterectomy) of low-income, rural, peasant, and indigenous Mexican women as part of national family planning and global birth control policies in developing countries. MORE
Milena Wegelin is a social anthropologist and research associate at the Department of Perinatal and Maternal Health of the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Sie is collaborating with Laura Perler in her subproject “Governing and Contesting In/fertility within the Swiss Asylum Context”
Susanne Schultz is lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the Goethe University Frankfurt a.M. She is a visiting researcher who collaborates with the team of the project „Reproductive Geopolitics“ with a SNSF Scientific Exchange Grant in 2023. MORE
Veronika Siegl, holding a PostDoctoral position in Social and Cultural Geography, is a social anthropologist and gender researcher. Her research focuses on ethics, inequality and self-determination in the context of reproductive medicine. MORE
Governing and Contesting In/Fertility within the Swiss Asylum Context
Reproductive Justice: A Feminist Concept in Motion
Gendering and Racializing In/fertility among Marginalized Women in Mexico
The Reproductive Geopolitics of Spain’s Strawberry Industry
The Invisible – Modern Slavery in Europe
Intimate Strangers: Commercial Surrogacy in Russia and Ukraine and the Making of Truth
Short Film Program: Reproductive Justice
Making Babies. Egg Donation and the Politics of Reproduction.
Exhibition: Making Babies in Bern
Elusive Exposures Event Series
Exhibition: Making Babies in Berlin
"Making Babies?" Panel Discussion Video
In Ukraine and Russia, surrogacy is seen as work
WOZ – Solidarität im Zeichen der Erdbeere
Erkenntnis als kollektiver Prozess
Bi aller Liebi... So kann und will ich nicht schwanger werden
Eierstock mit Beinen?
Als Julie ging, ihre Eizellen einzufrieren
Podcast: La selección genética en la clínica de fertilidad: tendencias presentes y futuras.
Deutschlandfunk – Erst die Technologie, dann die Ethik?
Bayern 2 debattiert: Eizellenspende - Was würde eine Legalisierung bedeuten?
Blick – Nachfrage nach Leihmüttern steigt
Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik – Das Geschäft mit dem Kinderwunsch
RaBe – Ausstellung «Babys machen»
WOZ – Der Begriff «Spende» führt in die Irre
L’autoconservation des ovocytes, une réponse médicale à un problème social ?
SRF – Für das Wunschkind nach Spanien
SRF – Leihmutterschaft: pro und contra
Frankfurter Rundschau – Gibt es ein Recht auf ein Kind?
Governing in/fertile bodies in Mexico’s past and present
Der Bund – eine Legalisierung stoppt den Reproduktionstourismus nicht
ZDF – Müssen wir die Eizellenspende legalisieren?
RBB – Eizellenspende: Zwischen Verbot und realer Anwendung
Zeit online – "Sie wollen die Eizellspende legalisieren, ohne die Details zu klären"
Tagesanzeiger – Eine Legalisierung stoppt den Reproduktionstourismus nicht
SRF – Geschichten hinter den Spenderinnen
Welt – Was mit den Babys von Leihmüttern im Krieg passiert
20minuten – Schweizer Eltern bangen um Leihmutter-Babys aus der Ukraine
DW Deutsch – Ukrainische Leihmütter im Krieg
Leihmutterschaft in Zeiten des Krieges
Peripartale Gesundheit asylsuchender Frauen in der Schweiz: who cares?
Erschwerter Zugang zu Verhütung in den Asylzentren: Perspektiven von geflüchteten Frauen in der Schweiz
Governing in/fertile bodies in Mexico’s past and present
Globale Intimität multisensorisch erforschen und ausstellen
Egg freezing, genetic relatedness, and motherhood:A binational empirical bioethical investigation of women's views
Imagining Motherhood and Becoming a Mother After Egg Freezing. An Anthropological Study in the French Context
Exploring Medical Egg Freezing as a Disease Management Strategy
Exhibiting Toxicity: Sprayed Strawberries and Geographies of Hope
Book Review: Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory, and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold
Intimate Technologies: Towards a Feminist Perspective on Geographies of Technoscience
Selective Assisted Reproduction
Book Review: Freezing Fertility: Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Aging.
Spain's Reproductive El Dorado. The Economization of Spanish "Egg Donation"
Feminist Geographies of Technosciences
Transnational Reproductive Mobility from Switzerland
The Promise of a Healthy Child. An Analysis of the Spanish Egg Donation Economy.
Intimate Lives in the Global Bioeconomy: Reproductive Biographies of Mexican Egg Donors
The Affective Economy of Transnational Surrogacy
The Baby Business Booms: Economic Geographies of Assisted Reproduction
Multiple Mobilities in Mexico’s Fertility Industry
From Biopolitics to Bioeconomies: The ART of (Re-) producing White Futures in Mexico's Surrogacy Market
Whose bodies are considered desirable to reproduce and whose bodies’ reproductive desires and capacities are controlled, restricted, or denied? Who has access to prenatal and postnatal health and a safe place for birth? Who is encouraged to prevent a pregnancy, talked into a permanent form of contraception or even forced to be sterilized? Who has access to abortion and under which condition? Reproductive geopolitics engages with these questions by studying how intimate experiences of reproduction are intertwined with global, national, and local politics. The research and exhibition project “Reproductive Geopolitics” takes place in collaboration between the research group Feminist Geographies and the mLAB at the Department of Geography at the University of Bern and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Bern.
Access to reproductive health care and reproductive technologies becomes geopolitical when states, international organisations or transnational corporations assign different bodies with different value to reproduce. By doing so, they govern the production of the future national body. This project argues that while in the past the territorial management of populations was explicitly framed as population politics, in the present the governance of reproduction takes place more implicitly through regimes of health care, migration, and sexual politics. Policies in these regimes continue to manage populations in a territorial fashion, but they do not officially pursue population control. Our project seeks to make these unperceived population politics explicit. Through three different case studies, the project examines
- how differently scaled policies govern women’s access to reproductive health;
- how women themselves experience their restricted access to reproductive health;
- how women contest stratified access to the reproductive health through individual circumventive practices and collective political struggles for reproductive justice.
- Multiscalar governance of reproduction: How do global policies, country-specific legal and political frameworks, and local settings regulate women’s access to reproductive health in a stratified fashion?
- Unperceived population politics: How does the unequal access to reproductive health along lines of gender, sexuality, nationality, race, class, and geographic location contribute to governing, regulating, and emancipating the reproduction of future populations?
- Intimate experiences of stratified reproduction: How do marginalized women experience and feel about their limited and restricted choice of and access to reproductive health?
- Resistance: How do marginalized women circumvent and contest limited access to reproductive health?
The project contributes to understand the role access to reproductive technologies plays in the new unperceived mode of population politics. They are unperceived because they are not articulated or communicated as population politics, yet they nevertheless govern the production of the future national body. Questions of uneven access to both high- and low-tech reproductive technologies and reproductive health care are crucial to understanding whose life counts for the reproduction of the future. Both in academic and political debates, the stratified and geographically highly unequal access to reproductive health as a new mode of governing populations and its consequences have not yet received the attention it warrants.
It engages with the individual and collective practices of resistance against this new mode of population politics. Centering the agency of those affected in their intimate lives by a restricted access to reproductive health, this project will examine marginalized women’s capacities to contest restricted access by circumventive practices and collective organizing.
Its contribution arises from the fact that research on population control mainly focuses on the Global South. Working in a transcultural fashion with case studies in Switzerland, Spain and Mexico, we aim to decenter attention from the population campaigns in the Global South by showing that unperceived modes of population politics also occur in the Global North.
Our methodological design starts from women’s intimate experiences of reproduction and follows individual women in their reproductive journeys across scales, space, and time through a mobile and multi-sited ethnography. We accompany the women in their everyday lives to observe their interactions with such diverse institutions as local health-care centers, (trans)national corporations, (trans)national government bodies, (trans)national social movements, and nongovernmental organizations that shape their reproductive journeys. We trace references the women make to local, national, and global policies and legislation and to social activism by following up on these references with expert interviews, archival document analysis, and secondary literature. To capture women’s embodied and emotional experiences of reproduction, we will develop a toolbox of affectual methods that we employ selectively at various scales according to the preferences of the research participants, the suitability in particular contexts, and the specific aims of the research encounter.