Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Cape Town

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Sociology, University of Massachusetts
Commercial Surrogate Mothering In India: Nine Months Of Labor?

In this study of surrogate mothers in India, I introduce the concept of "sexualized care work" to describe a new type of reproductive labor emerging in some parts of India - commercial surrogacy - that is similar to existing forms of care-work but is stigmatized, among other reasons, because of its parallels with sex work in public imagination. How do the curious features of this new kind of 'labor' affect the 'laborers'? I use oral histories of the surrogates in a clinic in Anand, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat, to examine the accounts they give, justifying their work and resisting stigma. Further, through participant observation at the clinic and in-depth interviews with the medical professionals, couples hiring the surrogates and the families of the surrogates I explore the structural inequalities inherent in commercial surrogacy as well as the surrogates' micro-level resistance; whether at the level of discourses and narratives or in their lived-experiences.