Accepted Paper:

Unsecular life: on ARTs and religion in Italy and in the Mediterranean context  
Giulia Zanini (Queen Mary University of London)

Paper short abstract:

Religion is part of actual modernities of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). Drawing on an ethnographic research in Italy and among Italian reproductive travellers, the present paper presents the emergence of the “unsecular” in the cultural, moral, religion and political Italian context.

Paper long abstract:

Recent anthropological research has shown how religion is part of actual modernities of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). It surfaces in multiple ways at different levels in the regulation, implementation, performance and experience of ARTs and serves various needs in different localities. Italy, which has been known for having seen the issue of a very restrictive national law on assisted reproduction in 2004, constitutes an interesting case of how religious and secular claims and practices overlap and interact in the public and private understanding of ARTs, making room for the emergence of the "unsecular" in the way in which both policy-makers and prospective parents approach ARTs. Drawing on an ethnographic research in Italy and among Italian reproductive travellers, the present paper presents this peculiar cultural, moral, religion and political context. In particular, it analyses the way in which different Catholic approaches to ARTs co-exist; explores the religious claims and practices among reproductive prospective parents as well as the official and unofficial stances of the Roman Catholic Church's representatives; and maps the use of Catholic-inspired principles in politics and family and reproductive policies. Finally, this papers compares existing literature on religion and ARTs in different Mediterranean countries in order to examine how religion differently affects geographically contiguous and partially interactive reproductive modernities both at institutional and individual levels.

Panel P094
Alliances, networks, and oppositions: the transnational circulation of medical reproductive technologies