Mother, Mothers: Forms and Contents of Maternity. A Simmelian Interpretation of Surrogate Motherhood

Authors

  • Luca Serafini

Abstract

Right from its very origins the debate on surrogate motherhood has fed on its own complexity, rather than achieving sure, unambiguous propositions over its goodness or inhumanity. This article offers a Simmelian interpretation of this modern form of maternity. Through Simmelian epistemology, the author identifies the key for overcoming some dilem-mas which have always accompanied the debate over the goodness or otherwise ofsurrogacy: whether it is the alienation or the realisation ofthe woman, the role ofmoney and the value of surrogacy as an act of giving life.

References

Amat M. (2007). “Simmel’s Law of the Individual: A Relational Idea of Culture”, in: Simmel Studies, 21, 2 pp. 42-71.

Andrews L.B. (1988). “Surrogate Motherhood: The Challenge for Feminists”, in: Law, Medicine & Health Care, 16 (1-2), pp. 72-80.

Balzano A. (2017). “In bilico tra mercificazione del biologico e autodeterminazione delle donne: oltre il divieto di surrogacy”, in: Notizie di Politeia, XXXIII (128), pp. 22-41.

Banerjee A. (2010). “Reorienting the Ethics of Transnational Surrogacy as a Feminist Pragmatist”, in: The Pluralist, 5 (3), pp. 107-127.

Belliotti R.A. (1988). “Marxism, Feminism, and Surrogate Motherhood”, in: Social Theory and Practice, 14 (3), pp. 389-417.

Berend Z. (2016). The Online World of Surrogacy. Oxford-New York: Berghahn Books.

Blumenberg H. (2012). “Money or Life: Metaphors of Georg Simmel’s Philosophy”, in: Theory, Culture & Society, 29 (7/8), pp. 249-262.

Bromfield Nicole F. (2016). “‘Surrogacy Has Been One of the Most Rewarding Experiences in My Life’: A Content Analysis of Blogs by U.S.” in: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 9 (1), pp. 192-217.

Busby K. and D. Vun (2010). “Revisiting The Handmaid’s Tale: Feminist Theory meets Empirical Research on Surrogate Mothers”, in: Canadian Journal of Family Law, 26, pp. 13-93.

Capron A.M. and M.J. Radin (1988). “Choosing Family Law over Contract Law as a Paradigm for Surrogate Motherhood”, in: Law, Medicine & Health Care, 16 (1-2), pp. 34-43.

Cooper M. and C. Waldby (2014). Clinical Labor. Tissue Donors and Research Subjects in the Global Bioeconomy. Durham, Duke University Press.

Coser L.A. (1977). “Georg Simmel’s Neglected Contributions to the Sociology of Women”, in: Signs, 2 (4), pp. 869-876.

Crenshaw K. (1989). “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics”, in: The University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989 (1), pp. 139-167.

Crenshaw K. (1991). “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”, in: Stanford Law Review, 43 (6): pp. 1241-1299.

Crozier G.K.D., J.L. Johnson and C. Hajzler (2014). “At the Intersections of Emotional and Biological Labor: Understanding Transnational Commercial Surrogacy as Social Reproduction”, in: IJFAB: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 7 (2), pp. 45-74.

Dahme H.-J. (1988). “On Georg Simmel’s Sociology of the Sexes”, in: Politics, Culture, and Society, 1 (3), pp. 412-430.

Dahme H.J. (1992). “Georg Simmel e la sociologia dei sessi. Significato della teoria del diritto materno per lo sviluppo della sociologia”, in: Annali di sociologia, II (8), pp. 234-256.

Dal Lago A. (1994). Il conflitto della modernità. Il pensiero di Georg Simmel. Bologna: il Mulino.

Davis K. (2008). “Intersectionality as Buzzword: A Sociology of Science Perspective on What Makes a Feminist Theory Successful”, in: Feminist Theory, 9 (1), pp. 67-85.

De Simone A. (2002). Georg Simmel. I problemi dell’individualità moderna. Urbino: QuattroVenti.

Deneault A. (2006). “The Definition of Economy n Simmel’s Philosophy of Money”, in Kim David D. (ed.), Georg Simmel in Translation: Interdisciplinary Border-Crossing in Culture and Modernity. Angerton Gardens, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, pp. 158-172.

Dillaway H.E. (2008). “Mothers for Others: A Race, Class and Gender Analysis of Surrogacy”, in: International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 34 (2), pp. 301-326.

Fellman F. (2015). “Das Ende der Kultur: Wie Georg Simmel den Begriff der Kultur soziologisch dekonstruiert”, in: Zeitschrift für Kulturphilsophie, 9 (1-2), pp. 79-94.

Fisher A.M. (2013). “The Journey of Gestational Surrogacy: Religion, Spirituality and Assisted Reproductive Technologies”, in: International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 18 (3), pp. 235-246.

Fitzi G. (2012). “A ‘Transnormative’ View of Society: Building: Simmel’s Sociological Epistemology and Philosophical Anthropology of Complex Society”, in: Theory, Culture & Society, 29 (7/8), pp. 177-196.

Fornari S. (2004). “La cultura soggettiva: femminilità e sessualità in Georg Simmel”, in De Simone A. (ed.), Leggere Simmel. Itinerari filosofici, sociologici ed estetici. Urbino: QuattroVenti, pp. 113-138.

Frisby D. (1990). “Georg Simmel’s Concept of Society”, in Kaern M., B.S. Phillips and R.S. Cohen (ed.), Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology. Dordrecth: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 39-55.

Giacomoni P. (2004). “L’Uno e il molteplice nel pensiero sulla differenza sessuale in Georg Simmel”, in: Annali di studi religiosi, 5, pp. 283-294.

Giacomoni P. (2017). “Per una rilettura del Goethe di Simmel. Tra classico e moderno”, in: Iride, 30 (80), pp. 183-192.

Grüning B. (2018). “Marianne Weber e la costruzione di una cultura femminile”, in Weber M., La donna e la cultura. Questione femminile e partecipazione pubblica. Roma: Armando, pp. 7-50.

Guizzardi L. (2017). “‘In September, they will start to ask: ‘So you all come here for Christmas?’. Rainbow Families and the Gift of Kinship”, in: Italian Sociological Review, 7 (3), pp. 325-350.

Guizzardi L. (2018). “Nostro figlio. La maternità surrogata tra dono, diritto e contratto”, in: Quaderni di teoria sociale, 2, pp. 97-101

Guizzardi L. and L. Martignani (2012). “Échange, don, réciprocité: l’acte de ‘donner’ chez Simmel et Durkheim”, in: Durkheimian Studies, 18, pp. 98-118.

Gunnarsson Payne J., E. Korolczuk and S. Mezinska (2020). “Surrogacy Relationships: A Critical Interpretative Review”, in: Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 125, 2, pp. 183-191.

Haesler A.J. (1995). “La monétarisation du monde: une approche simmélienne”, in: Simmel Newsletter, 5 (2), pp. 97-111.

Horney K. (1926). “The Flight from Womanhood. The Masculinity-Complex in Women as Viewed by Men and by Women”, in: International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 7: pp. 324-339.

Jouan M. (2017). “L’acceptabilité morale de la gestation pour autrui”, in: Travail, genre et sociétés, 2 (38), pp. 35-52.

Kaern M. (1983). “Understanding Georg Simmel”, in: Sociological Focus, 16 (3), pp. 169-179.

Kaern M. (1990). “The World as Human Construction”, in Kaern M., B.S. Phillips and R.S. Cohen (ed.), Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology. Dordrecth: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 75-98.

Khader S.J. (2013). “Intersectionality and the Ethics of Transnational Commercial Surrogacy”, in: IJFAB: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 6 (1), pp. 68-90.

Lee M. and D. Silver (2012). “Simmel’s Law of the Individual Ethics of the Relational Self”, in: Theory, Culture & Society, 29 (7/8), pp. 124-145.

Lewin E. (2009). Gay Fatherhood. Narratives of Family and Citizenship in America. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Lichtblau K. (1989). “Eros and Culture: Gender Theory in Simmel, Tönnies and Weber”, in: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Thought, 82, pp. 89-110.

Lorenzetti A. (2015). “Coppie same-sex e fecondazione assistita: la progressiva decostruzione del paradigma familiare”, in Azzalini M. (ed.), La procreazione assistita, dieci anni dopo. Evoluzioni e nuove sfide. Ariccia (Roma): Aracne, pp. 103-129

Martignani L. (2014). “Dell’inesistenza della società perfetta come perfetta società (Ovvero come imparai a non preoccuparmi e ad amare la forma)”, in Martignani L. and D. Ruggieri (ed.), Georg Simmel. Il problema della sociologia. Milano-Udine: Mimesis, pp. 119-145.

McCall L. (2005). “The Complexity of Intersectionality”, in: Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30 (3), pp. 1771-1800.

McElroy R. (2002). “Whose Body, Whose Nation? Surrogate Motherhood and its Representation”, in: European Journal of Cultural Studies, 5 (3), pp. 325-342.

McNamee S. and M. Glasser (1987). “The Power Concept in Sociology: A Theoretical Assessment”, in: Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, 15 (1), pp. 79-104.

Merchant J. (2017). “Une gestation pour autrui «éthique» est possible”, in: Travail, genre et sociétés, 2 (38), pp. 183-189.

Millson J.A. (2009). “The Reflexive Relativism of Georg Simmel”, in: The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 23 (3), pp. 180-207.

Oakes G. (1984). “The Problem of Women in Simmel’s Theory of Culture”, in Simmel G. (trans. and ed. Oakes G.), On Women, Sexuality and Love, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 3-64.

Oliver K. (1989). “Marxism and Surrogacy”, in: Hypatia, 4 (3), pp. 95-115.

Pande A. (2014). Wombs in Labor. Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in India, New York: Columbia University Press.

Partyga D. (2016). “Simmel’s Reading of Nietzsche: The Promise of ‘Philosophical Sociology’”, in: Journal of Classical Sociology, 16 (4), pp. 414-437.

Pateman C. (1988). The Sexual Contract. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Peterson J. (2016). “Baby M: American feminists respond to a controversial case”, in: Journal of Women’s History, 28 (2), pp. 103-125.

Patil V. (2013). “From Patriarchy to Intersectionality: A Transnational Feminist Assessment of How Fare We’ve Really Come”, in: Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 38 (4), pp. 847-867.

Prandini R. (1998). Le radici fiduciarie del legame sociale. Milano: FrancoAngeli.

Pyyhtinen O. (2016). “The Real as Relation: Simmel as a Pioneer of Relation Sociology”, in Kemple T. and O. Pyyhtinen (ed.), The Anthem Companion to Georg Simmel. London: Anthem Press, pp. 101-120.

Radin M.J. (1995). “What, if Anything, Is Wrong with Baby Selling?”, in: Pacific Law Journal, 26, pp. 135-145.

Ragoné H. (1994). Surrogate Motherhood. Conception in the Heart. Boudler-San Francisco-Oxford: Westview Press.

Ragoné H. (2003). “The Gift of Life: Surrogate Motherhood, Gamete Donation and Constructions of Altruism”, in Layne L. (ed.), Transformative Motherhood: On Giving and Getting in a Consumer Culture. New York: New York University Press, pp. 209-226.

Rozée V. (2018). “La gestation pour autrui en Indie, un révélateur de la condition des femmes dans le pays”, in Côté I., K. Lavoie and J. Courduriès (ed.), Perspectives internationales sur la gestation pour autrui. Expériences des personnes concernées et contextes d’action. Presses de l’Université du Québec: pp. 167-188.

Rudrappa S. (2015). Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India. New York: New York University Press.

Ruggieri D. (2014). “Lo sguardo dell’altro. Il problema della sociologia in Georg Simmel (Ovvero la sociologia come problema)”, in Martignani L. and D. Ruggieri (ed.), Georg Simmel. Il problema della sociologia. Milano-Udine: Mimesis, pp. 9-37.

Ruggieri D. (2016). La sociologia relazionale di Georg Simmel. La relazione come forma sociale vitale. Milano-Udine: Mimesis.

Ruggieri D. (2017). “Georg Simmel and the ‘Relational Turn’. Contributions to the Foundation of the Lebenssoziologie since Simmel”, in: Simmel Studies, 21 (1), pp. 43-71.

Ruggieri D. (2019). “La chiave e il martello: vita e tragedia degli oggetti culturali nella teoria sociologica di Georg Simmel”, in: Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary, 13 (VIII), pp. 20-38.

Schermer H. and D. Jary (2013). Form and Dialectic in Georg Simmel’s Sociology. A New Interpretation, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Scott E.S. (2009). “Surrogacy and the Politics of Commodification”, in: Law and Contemporary Problems, 72, pp. 109-146.

Segalen M. (2017). “Pourquoi la gestation pour autrui dite ‘éthique’ ne peut être”, in: Travail, genre et sociétés, 2 (38), pp. 53-73.

Silver D., M. Lee and M.R. Moore (2007). “The View of Life: A Simmelian Reading of Simmel’s ‘Testament’”, in: Simmel Studies, 17 (2), pp. 262-290.

Silver D. and M. Brocic (2019). “Three Concepts of Form in Simmel’s Sociology”, in: The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory, 94 (2), pp. 114-124.

Simmel G. (1896). “Sur quelques relations de la pensée théorique avec les intérêts pratiques”, in: Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 4 (2), pp. 160-178.

Simmel G. [1902] (1984). “Female Culture”, in Simmel G., (trans. and ed. Oakes G.), On Women, Sexuality and Love. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 65-101.

Simmel G. [1911] (1984). “The Relative and the Absolute in the Problem of the Sexes”, in (trans. and ed. Oakes G.), On Women, Sexuality and Love. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 102-132.

Simmel G. [1918] (1997). Intuizioni della vita. Quattro capitoli metafisici. Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane.

Simmel G. [1900] (2004). The Philosophy of Money, ed. by. Frisby D., 3rd edition. London-New York: Routledge.

Simmel G. (2008). Briefe 1912-1918. GSG 22.

Simmel G. [1983] (2009). Sociology. Inquiries into the Construction of Social Forms, 2 Vols., ed. By Blasi A.J., Jacobs A.K., Kanjirathinkal M. Leiden: Brill.

Simmel G. [1916] (2012). “The Fragmentary Character of Life”, in: Theory, Culture & Society, 29 (7/8), pp. 237-248.

Stoetzler M. (2016). “Intersectional Individuality: Georg Simmel’s Concept of ‘The Intersection of Social Circles’ and the Emancipation of Women”, in: Sociological Inquiry, 86 (2), pp. 216-240.

Stoetzler M. (2017). “From Interacting Systems to a System of Division: The Concept of Society and the ‘Mutual Constitution’ of Intersecting Social Divisions”, in: European Journal of Social Theory, 20 (4), pp. 455-472.

Théry I. (2010). Des humaines comme les autres. Bioétique, anonymat et genre du don. Paris: Éditions de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales.

Toledano S.J. and K. Zeiler (2017). “Hosting the Others’ Child? Relational Work and Embodied Responsibility in Altruistic Surrogate Motherhood”, in: Feminist Theory, 18 (2), pp. 159-175.

Türk R. and F. Terzioglu (2014). “Ethical Issues in the Surrogate Maternity Practice”, in: Caucasican Journal of Sciences, 1 (1), pp. 98-108.

Vromen S. (1990). “Georg Simmel and the Cultural Dilemma of Women”, in Kaern M., B.S. Phillips and R.S. Cohen (ed.), Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology. Dordrecth: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 319-340.

van Vucht Tijssen L. (1991). “Women and Objective Culture: Georg Simmel and Marianne Weber”, in: Theory, Culture & Society, 8, pp. 203-218.

Walker R. and L. van Zyl (2017). Towards a Professional Model of Surrogate Motherhood. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Weber M. [1913] (2018). La donna e la cultura. Questione femminile e partecipazione pubblica, trans. and ed. by Grüning B. Roma: Armando.

Weber M. (2003). “Authority and Autonomy in Marriage” trans. and ed. by Bermingham C.R., in: Sociological Theory, 21 (2), pp. 85-102.

Witz A. (2001). “Georg Simmel and the Masculinity of Modernity”, in: Journal of Classical Sociology, 1 (3), pp. 353-370.

Witzleb N. and A. Chawla (2015). “Surrogacy in India: Strong Demand, Weak Laws”, in Gerber P. and K. O’Byrne (ed.), Surrogacy, Law and Human Rights. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 167-191.

Zelizer V.A. (2010). Economic Lives: How Culture shapes the Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Published

2021-09-27

Issue

Section

Articles