‘Managing’ biological kinship knowledge - familial and regulatory ‘information-management’ during assisted conception –
SpeakersMaren Klotz, Egenis PhD Student
University of Exeter,Egenis, Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ
Room no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
I will present an interim report on my PHD which deals with “kinship information management” and on my work in the Humboldt University project “Reproducing kinship - Cultures of relatedness in the context of technological and social change”. I shall discuss several of my qualitative empirical examples which show how families who have adopted or used donated gametes deal with the absence of biological kin-ties: how they build up ‘management-strategies’ to avoid stigmatisation, how they use specific media to help the child develop its own ‘conception narratives’, and how creative research tactics enable children and parents to – sometimes – circumvent the regulatory gate-keeping around genetic kinship data (e.g. information on donors and birthparents). Additionally, I want to try out and discuss with you different theoretical and interpretive foci on the theme of ‘kinship-knowledge-management’: for instance, Strathern’s and Carsten’s concept of genetic kinship knowledge as ‘constitutive information’ (thereby drawing on Searle’s ‘constitutive rules’) and possible contributions of the Anthropology of Knowledge or SSK. One could also tentatively hypothesise – even though I am still a bit too early in my research to stick to such broad interpretations - that the handling of biological kinship data has become a topical regulatory problem, where the state monopoly on certain kinship information is being eroded through various, often internet-based, research activities of local actors. These regulatory problems point to much wider questions on data protection, the specific relationality of genetic data, and political transparency.