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Making Modern MothersEthics and Family Planning in Urban Greece$
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Heather Paxson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223714

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223714.001.0001

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Technologies of Greek Motherhood

Technologies of Greek Motherhood

(p.212) 5 Technologies of Greek Motherhood
Making Modern Mothers

Heather Paxson

University of California Press

This chapter describes the notion of realized nature and takes up the question of what happens to a local metaphysics of gender and kinship when it encounters the imported medical technology of in vitro fertilization. It also discusses the fact that the nature Athenians call on to legitimatize their actions and choices is not quite the fixed, grounding nature whose logical demise Strathern diagnoses. For many Greeks, nature is not the simultaneous opposite and source of culture. Rather, the author describes Greek sociality—and gender construction—as an understanding of nature that is more metaphysical, active, and unpredictable than the Enlightenment version. “Proper” sexuality, the normative heterosexuality men and women are supposed to exhibit, is ideologically more a matter of learned, controlled behavior than raw essence.

Keywords:   in vitro fertilization, gender construction, Greek sociality, heterosexuality, Strathern

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