Lead


Lay summary
The present research projects is embedded in anthropological debate; it seeks to establish whether reproductive technologies change the way kinship is perceived and constructed in society. This question is of special importance in the light of A. Weiner's argument that pre-existing kinship relationships give a newborn child its identity as a member of society (1978).The specific reproductive situation of same-sex couples in Jewish Israeli society offers a heuristic prism for studying the gendered dynamics of kinship and reproduction at the interface between religious precepts and political processes. These shall be analyzed by considering the application of reproductive rights of same-sex couples as well as the controversies surrounding them. Although same-sex couples have secured a wide range of family rights through court verdicts since the mid-90s, the situation of parents and children is not unproblematic. The hegemony of religious authorities over marriage and divorce remains untouched, and the status of same-sex families not fully recognized. We examine the scope of recognition, and ask to what extent it transforms the semantics and structure of kinship. What constraints do prevailing gender constructs create for lesbian and gay same-sex families? Furthermore, we ask how this process might modify the relationship between civil and rabbinical law. With this research, we aim to show that principles of kinship and underlying gender dynamics are instrumental for the formation, reproduction, and transmission of collective identities, even in (post)modern states. In order to situate same-sex couples with children within societal processes, the project examines conjointly: 1) Jewish concepts of kinship and reproduction; 2) the application of reproductive technologies and adoption by same-sex couples; 3) legal possibilities for same-sex couples' access to reproduction; and their political implications 4) the praxis of reproductive institutions such as adoption agencies and sperm-banks. Material will be collected through the study of written sources, and in-depth qualitative interviews complemented by the genealogical method as well as life and family histories.Through the combination of queer studies and anthropology of kinship, this project will contribute to a better understanding of how societies are (re)produced and contested, and how collective identities intermesh with political agendas concerning individual reproductive practice, fertility policy, and citizenship.