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Book and Media Reviews
June 15, 2011

The Globalization of Motherhood: Deconstructions and Reconstructions of Biology and Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (sunita.puri@ucsf.edu).

JAMA. 2011;305(23):2469-2472. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.839

“Debby lives on Manhattan's upper West Side. She is the 41-year-old mother of 4-month-old twins conceived via a Hungarian IVF clinic and of 3-year-old Lindsay, adopted from a Chinese orphanage at 11 months of age.”

With this opening sentence of their edited collection, Wendy Chavkin and JaneMaree Maher powerfully summarize the increasing medical and social complexity of modern motherhood. Their book is an interdisciplinary collection of essays exploring the transformation of motherhood by the globalization of reproductive technologies, expansion of transnational domestic labor markets, and transnational adoption. Combining perspectives from anthropology, history, law, and medicine, these insightful essays explore the contemporary disaggregation of the biological and social aspects of motherhood, emphasizing how poverty and social inequality differentially affect women's abilities to benefit from advances in reproductive technology and globalization. The works share a focus on how globalized reproductive technologies may instead recreate old, preexisting inequalities between women along lines of ethnicity and class.

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