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The Imagined Reproductive Futures of Post-Graduate Students

Date

2018-07-06

Journal Title

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Type

Thesis

Degree Level

Masters

Abstract

Drawing on critical-interpretive medical anthropology and assemblage theory (Mol 2002), this thesis explores how thirty post-graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan enact their imagined reproductive futures. This ethnographic research was conducted using the methods of walkabouts, participant observation, and semi-structured one-on-one interviews, and finds that participants draw upon various enactments of “the right time” to be and become parents, and performances of femininity in order to normalize and naturalize their imagined reproductive futures in the context of delayed parenthood and long-term educational attainment. By emphasizing and prioritizing models of educational, professional, and reproductive time, these students not only preface accepted social norms of Canadian culture, but further normalize their delayed parenthood within the public of post-graduate students by engaging with the normative temporal model of “the right time.” Their imagined reproductive futures are further shaped by their negotiation of the well-noted tension between academic and professional work, and femininity; they bring together discourses and social norms of who and what is a good, natural mother, and a particular understanding of femininity to bring their imagined reproductive futures into being. Finally, the data collected during this study highlights the need for further research into both students’ conceptions of infertility and ARTs, and how assumedly fertile individuals frame and understand their reproductive capabilities. This research contributes to the literature on student culture, while highlighting the dearth of research that has been previously been conducted with post-graduate students. Further research into both student culture itself, and the role of university institutions in the enactment of such culture, needs to be conducted.

Description

Keywords

Reproductive Futures, Medical Anthropology, Assemblage Theory, Post-Graduate Students, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs)

Citation

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Archaeology and Anthropology

Program

Anthropology

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