This article builds from the author's transnational fieldwork on surrogacy in India, based on interviews with seventy surrogate mothers, thirty-one egg donors, and twenty intended parents in the United States and Australia. The author's work on global surrogacy is embedded in the larger literature on care work. Building from the scholarship on intimate labors, the author shows that surrogacy involves not just affective states of being; instead, surrogacy is a new form of value extraction that reaches deep into the body itself, commodifying aspects of life and the life force that were previously conceived as laying outside market logic. While the examination of the penetration of market exchange into intimate spheres of everyday life is not new, the author explains how, in the specific case of surrogacy, nuclear familial love and intimacy are possible only because of the market. The market, however, is an exorcist. First world families, replete with genetically descended babies, are possible only through exorcising the laboring bodies of working-class Indian surrogate mothers.
1 February 2016
Sharmila Rudrappa; What to Expect When You're Expecting: The Affective Economies of Consuming Surrogacy in India. positions 1 February 2016; 24 (1): 281–302. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-3320149
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