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Accepted Contribution:

Hormonal emplotment: a new materialist exploration of contraception, gender hacking, birth, and autism-specific horse therapy  
Sone Erikainen (University of Aberdeen) Lisa Raeder (University of Edinburgh) Andrea Ford (University of Edinburgh) Roslyn Malcolm (Durham University)

Short abstract:

Through a patchwork of four stories about contraception, gender hacking, birth, and autism-specific horse therapy, this paper offers a new materialist examination of how and why hormones remain vital protagonists in the constitution of bodies, affects, environments, places, politics, and selves.

Long abstract:

Hormones are complex biosocial objects that provoke myriad cultural narratives through their association with social activities and identities, and these narratives have the power to shape people’s lived realities and bodies. While hormones were historically conceptualised as ‘master molecules’ capable of controlling various life processes, their explanatory potential has now been overshadowed by technoscientific developments like omics- and gene-based biotechnologies that have reframed how human bodies and behaviours are understood. Considering these shifts, this paper asks what roles hormones perform and what stories they are arousing today. Through a patchwork of four hormone stories about contraception, gender hacking, birth, and autism-specific horse therapy, we show how hormones remain vital protagonists in the constitution of bodies, affects, environments, places, politics, and selves in the contemporary period. Building on new materialist approaches, we adopt and extend the notion of ‘emplotment’ to encapsulate how hormones act as key characters in our plots. They are working to complicate dominant understandings of what bodies are and can be in new ways as they mediate different plots of bodily experience, in ways showing the ongoing powerful salience of hormones and their ascendancy in the present.

Combined Format Open Panel P271
Making and doing hormonal theory
  Session 2