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Kinship and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies.

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Presentation on theme: "Kinship and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kinship and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies

2 Schedule Learning ActivityTime allowed Introduction, schedule, aims 10 mins Session 1. What does kinship have to do with sexuality? Who are your relatives? Pre-reading review Mini-lecture & group discussion: American kinship Group discussion: Kinship and sexuality 70 mins Session 2. New kinship: Challenges to conventional kinship thinking Mini-lecture: Gay marriage and IVF & Review Screening: Two Men and Two Babies Group work: Two Men and Two Babies & Brainstorm 145 mins Session 3. New kinship and sexual morality Pre-reading review & Discussion Focus Group Discussions: gay marriage and sperm donation 155 mins Session 4. Engaging with political tensions: The role of critical sexuality scholars Small group brainstorm Striking a balance: Group discussion 55 mins Conclusion 10 mins Total 445 mins (7hrs 20 mins)

3 3 Module aims To: Challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about what kinship means, questioning particularly the emphasis placed in many cultures on biological relationships grounded in sexual intercourse Explore newer forms of kinship such as those established through gay marriage or assisted reproduction Generate discussion of how course participants as critical sexuality scholars may support and strengthen attempts in their societies to enhance innovation and creativity in kinship practices Explore one method of researching attitudes to new kinship – focus group discussions – and reflect on the kind of knowledge produced by this method

4 4 Participants will: Develop an understanding of how dominant sexual moralities often frame heterosexual relations within the union of marriage as the only natural basis for family formation Explore how social and technological challenges to conventional family arrangements may confront dominant cultural values on sexual propriety Develop a critical understanding of how critical sexuality scholars may negotiate traditional kinship values and support innovative kinship practices

5 5 Session 1. What does kinship have to do with sexuality?

6 6 Who are your relatives? On a piece of paper, list: –Who are your relatives? –Who do you feel close to, but are not related to? (10 mins)

7 7 Pre-reading review –David Schneider, 1968a. Virgin Birth. Man (N.S.) 3(1): –David Schneider, 1968b. Chapter Two: Relatives. In American Kinship. A Cultural Account, pp Chicago: The University of Chicago Press Brainstorm –What did Schneider learn from his fieldwork among the Yap ? (10 mins)

8 8 Kinship Blood / Nature (consanguinity) Blood / Nature (consanguinity) Law (affinity) Law (affinity) Mini-lecture: American kinship

9 9 Bilateral reproduction (American Kinship)

10 10 Group discussion: American kinship Do you see similar cultural orders in your own country? If yes: How are nature and law defined? For instance, nature can refer to genetics or to blood; law to civil law, religious law, or custom law Can you identify other kinds of cultural orders that define kinship for people in your country? For instance, kinship may be defined through the sharing of meals, through social care and support, etc Could other cultural orders help us to think about kinship in ways that go beyond the dichotomy between the biological and the social? (10 mins)

11 11 Discussion: kinship and sexuality Principles of kinship What distinguishes a relative from a non-relative in your accounts? Do definitions of a relative follow orders of nature, orders of law or other orders? Is the blood relationship that is produced through sexual intercourse as important in your country/culture as in Schneiders America or are other things more important? Practices of kinship In practice, how are differences defined between a relative and a non-relative in your country/culture? Are there particular expectations that you have of your relatives? Are relations with relatives culturally expected to be more enduring in terms of time than relations with non-relatives? (30 mins)

12 12 Session 2. New kinship: challenges to conventional kinship thinking

13 13 Gay marriage and IVF

14 14

15 15 In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

16 16 Traditional Surrogacy (biogenetic links)

17 17 Gestational Surrogacy (biogenetic links vs social links) Parents Gestational mother Egg donor Sperm provider

18 18 Screening

19 19 Focus questions While watching the film, consider: –What emotions do you experience during the film? –How do the people involved actively construct kinship? –What are the differences between the clinicians and the clients? –How do the people in the film think about and use biological terms for kinship?

20 20 Two Men & Two Babies In small groups: –Discuss your immediate reactions to the film and make a list of positive and negative reactions: –What made you feel uplifted? What made you feel sceptical? –If you showed this film in the neighbourhood where you live, how do you think people would react? List positive and negative reactions. (15 mins) Feedback: –Share your reactions in the relevant columns on the blackboard/flipchart (5 mins)

21 21 Brainstorm Referring to the reactions listed on the blackboard/flipchart: –What role does biology play in the reactions you have listed? –Can you identify underlying assumptions about biologically proper ways of having children? –Is there anything natural about the assumptions you have mentioned: are these assumptions grounded in nature or in culture? (20 mins)

22 22 Session 3. New kinship and sexual morality

23 23 Pre-reading review Inhorn, M.C. (2006) He Wont Be My Son: Middle Eastern Muslim mens discourses of adoption and gamete donation. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 20(1): Edwards, J. (2007) Marriage is Sacred: The religious rights arguments against gay marriage in Australia. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 9(3):

24 24 Discussion What do you see as the shared themes in the two texts? (10 mins)

25 25 Summary Both articles demonstrate that: –There are local reactions to alternative forms of kinship –Negative reactions to new forms of kinship are closely linked with ideas about sexual morality –Ideas about sexual morality are very deeply felt –Ideas about what is natural are often linked to religion or to biology, and often support ideas about what is morally proper –Nature offers a questionable foundation for moral standpoints

26 26 FGDs: experience-sharing Does anyone have experience running Focus Group Discussions (FGDs)? What kinds of information might FGDs elicit? What sorts of questions might work best in FGDs?

27 27 Preparing a new kinship FGD Form two research groups: –The task of Group 1 is to develop questions for a focus group discussion to explore attitudes to gay marriage –The task for Group 2 is to develop questions for a focus group discussion to explore attitudes to sperm donation (20 mins)

28 28 Running a new kinship FGD Each group should assign a moderator. Other group members will be observers and note-takers Take turns conducting the focus group discussions with the other group as the subjects It is the moderators job to pose the questions and ensure that each subject has an opportunity tor respond Subjects are encouraged to express personal opinions (rather than playing roles), but if relevant, some participants may want to play devils advocate and take more conservative or radical positions (20 mins each)

29 29 Analysis and feedback Analyse the material generated in each of the focus groups. Consider the module themes: –Kinship –Sexuality –Sexual morality (20 mins) Report back (10 mins) Provide recommendations for future research on gay marriage and sperm donation, from a Critical Sexuality Studies perspective (10 mins)

30 30 Session 4. Engaging with political tensions: the role of critical sexuality scholars

31 31 Small group brainstorm In your own social context, can you think of examples where cultural values linking procreation and sexuality within the institution of heterosexual marriage create exclusions, or silences around particular kinship practices? –For example, couples who conceal their use of IVF treatments due to social stigma around infertility, etc (15 mins) Share your examples with the whole group (5 mins)

32 32 Discussion: striking a balance Drawing as much as possible on your own experience as researchers, discuss the following question: –How can we as critical sexuality scholars strike a balance between: a) respecting local peoples sense of what is moral and valuable, and b) advancing more open approaches to kinship and sexuality as discussed in this module? (30 mins)

33 33 Conclusion In many cultures, kinship and sexuality are seen as intimately interlinked This close link is a cultural construct rather than a biological given Reactions to new forms of kinship are often grounded in ideas about what constitutes morally proper sexual relations These ideas, in turn, are often linked to religion or to biology Once we see that the natural is socially constructed, it becomes evident that ideas about nature provide a questionable basis for moral standpoints Strong moral feelings and values are at play in this field and interventions, through research or advocacy, are balancing acts

34 34 Module created by: –Dr Tine Gammeltoft, University of Copenhagen Short course developed by: –The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and –The International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) –With funding from The Ford Foundation Available under an Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike licence from Creative Commons

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