Technologies of Greek Motherhood

Heather Paxson

in Making Modern Mothers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520223714
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937130 | DOI:
Technologies of Greek Motherhood

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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

Chapter.  18389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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