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Current Sociology Monograph 2016, Vol. 64(2) 244–258 © The Author(s) 2015 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0011392115614786 csi.sagepub.com CS Global reproductive inequalities, neo-eugenics and commercial surrogacy in India Amrita Pande University of Cape Town, South Africa Abstract India’s commercial surrogacy market literally produces humans and human relationships while sustaining global racial reproductive hierarchies. The post-colonial state’s aggressive anti-natalism echoes the broader global population control agenda framing the global South’s high fertility rates as a ‘global danger’ to be controlled at whatever cost, but is at odds with the neoliberal imperative of unrestrained global fertility tourism. Womb mothers (surrogates) subvert hegemonic discourses by taking control over their bodies and using their fertile bodies ‘productively’. But in controlling their own reproduction through decisions about fertility, sterilization and abortion in order to (re)produce children of higher classes and privileged nations, they ultimately conform to global neo-eugenic imperatives to reduce the fertility of lower class women in the global South. Surrogates creatively construct cross-class, -caste, -religion, -race and -nation kinship ties with the baby and the intended mother, disrupting hegemonic genetic and patriarchal bases of kinship, but fundamentally reify structural inequality. Keywords Biosocialities, fair trade surrogacy, neo-eugenics, reproductive travel, stratified reproduction, transnational commercial surrogacy Commercial surrogacy is a multi-billion-dollar industry across the world, with India being one of the world leaders. Although often couched in dystopic terms, the topic of surrogacy is not restricted to medical or scientific circles and has been generating feminist, ethical, legal and social debates for over three decades now. While liberal feminists defend Corresponding author: Amrita Pande, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7701, South Africa. Email: [email protected] 614786 CSI 0 10.1177/0011392115614786Current Sociology Pande research-article 2015 Article
Pande 245 the practice as a woman’s right to use her body as she chooses, others focus on the multiple systems of inequality and exploitation that are potentially reinforced by such practices, or debate on the ethics or morality of this practice. A more recent turn presents an empirically grounded or ethnographic scholarship on the lived experiences of surrogacy. Until recently, the predominant focus of this scholarship was surrogacy in Europe and North America – not surprising, since commercial surrogacy is a very recent phenomenon outside the Euro- American context. Curiously, the complete absence of any empirical data about surrogacy in the global South did not prevent feminists from making alarming predictions about the future of these technologies. For instance, feminist Andrea Dworkin predicted in 1978,

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