"It's very simple, they … just get it done there" - reproductive technologies, gene editing, and moral geographies as sense making devices
(University of Vienna)
Paper short abstract:
Building on a series of discussion groups on genome editing (CRISPR) in Austria, this paper aims to show how people use "moral geographies" in making sense of these new technological promises. This practice (re)produces hierarchical differences of us/them, here/there and closeness/distance.
Paper long abstract:
"… but for people it's very simple, they just drive to Slovakia or one
of the neighboring foreign countries and get it done there". This is one
quote from discussion groups organised by the STS Department in Vienna
(Felt, Metzler & Bieszczad) in late 2017 addressing genome editing with
Due to the relative affordability and speed of gene editing with CRISPR,
promises arise to democratise genetic research whilst potentially
eliminating heritable diseases. While ethics boards, researchers in
different fields as well as leading journals have voiced concerns about
these promises, this project investigates both the attempts of
participants to make sense of this highly contested emerging technology
and the narratives (re)produced surrounding reproductive technologies in
the genetic age.
Feminist scholars of technoscience have long been pointing out
problematic entanglements of reproductive technologies, with questions
of local/global inequalities and the hierarchization of societies both
within and amongst each other. Although CRISPR does raise new questions
of regulation and governance, it reanimates a long-standing discourses
that moralizes reproduction and polices bodies.
By conducting a narrative analysis of discussions on reproductive
technologies using gene editing, this paper examines how participants
draw distinctions along axes of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and
ability, utilising "moral geographies" to make sense of the distributed
nature of gene editing technologies. Considering the uneven legislation
across national boundaries, participants are acutely aware that national
legal frameworks are often insufficient to encounter the complexity of
contemporary reproductive possibilities.
Promissory encounters? Exploring innovations at the intersection of reproduction and genetics from a feminist STS perspective