Accepted Paper:

EU conceptions: Europeanisation and kinship in a German fertility clinic  


Maren Heibges (Humboldt University Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the implementation of the EU Tissue Directive in Berlin fertility clinics and its effects on emerging forms of kinship, on new medical actors, and on institutional hierarchies. Within this process Europe is also constituted as a specific space for the different actors involved.

Paper long abstract:

For anthropologists the legislation and regulation of reproductive technologies in the European Union affords a unique possibility to grasp some of the complexities involved in the process of Europeanization: not only in terms of changing practices of identification and the circulation of political ideas, images and ideals, but also with respect to more mundane aspects such as laws, safety directives and standards. The paper focuses on one small and fairly specific piece of European regulation within the legislation of assisted reproductive technologies - on the EU Tissue and Cells Directive. It looks into one moment of its translation into actual practice when the EU Tissue Directive arrives at two Berlin fertility clinics and leads the actors there to pass through a number of often negatively experienced transformations. By ethnographically focusing on the effects and ramifications of the EU Tissue Directive from a local perspective and by way of a single case study the paper illustrates the role of seemingly unspectacular or, as Susan Leigh Star would probably have argued, "boring" aspects of Europeanisation. These aspects change how kinship in Germany (in this case with the help of reproductive medicine and donated sperm) can be done - and they also reveal how the discursive and material space called Europe is locally constituted.

Panel P03
The parliament of crisis: the saving of the European market and its effects