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Practices and discourses of non-reproduction: exploring infrastructures of population control from non-procreationist perspectives 
Ursula Offenberger (University of Tübingen, Germany)
Almut Peukert (University of Hamburg)
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Tamara Pascale Schwertel (University clinic Koeln)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Our panel invites for critical, justice-oriented research on non-reproduction, considering practices and discourses that shape and have shaped matters of non-reproduction in different times and places. We aim to explore infrastructures of population control from non-procreationist perspectives.

Long Abstract:

Modern nation states worldwide have established reproductive matters as a particular fringe between public and private live: reproduction, raising children and ensuring their well-being, has turned into a matter of home and family making. At the same time, reproductive politics have been turned into calculative matters and become part of particular epistemic infrastructures (Murphy 2017), thus linking political economy with attempts at population control. Because reproductivity, also when technologically assisted, is widely considered the standard case of organizing societies, its absence is often problematized through discourses of danger and fear of declining populations.

While reproduction is an established topic in Science and Technology Studies (e.g., Clarke 1998), the counterpart, non-reproduction, has received comparatively less attention. Accompanied by respective philosophical deliberations (e.g., Benatar and Wassermann 2015), anti-natalist/anti-procreationist movements have gained momentum in climate politics. These developments raise broader questions about the discourses, controversies, and material relations that have shaped anti-natalist ideas. As these discourses and practices have been highly ableist, sexist, racialized and colonialist in the past, critical and justice-oriented research on non-reproduction needs to consider possible inequalities with regard to gender, sexuality, race, class, dis/ability, religion or other categories of difference, in order to develop anti-racist, ecologically and feministically grounded, post-anthropocentric visions of prosperity (Clarke and Star 2018).

Our panel invites empirically informed contributions on historically and geographically distributed sites, social worlds and communities of practicing non-reproduction, the situated knowledges produced, and the controversies fought out. Adding to existing philosophical deliberations, our STS informed perspective aims at both collecting different accounts for a good life without biological children and at understanding key elements of discourses and practices of non-reproduction, thus shedding light on politics, affects, materialities and other elements that shape matters of non-reproduction on a global and on a local scale.

Accepted papers: