Woman, Body, Conception: Unveiling the Arcana


  • Paola Di Nicola University of Verona, Italy




The development of techniques of medically assisted procreation (hereinafter MAP) – above all the ability to form an embryo outside a woman’s body and surrogacy procedures – has generated heated international debate involving doctors, geneticists, biologists, psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, bioethicists, feminists, and legal experts. This long list of protagonists might yet grow as MAP affects one of the two most important symbolic aspects of human life: the beginning and the end. Reflecting on the issue of birth (the beginning of life) means asking questions about sexuality and conception which relate directly to the female body. This article highlights the decisive impact of MAP techniques on the new social imaginaries of the body, sexuality, and conception.  The new symbols and myths which emerge tell of sexless, de-eroticised, and empty male and female bodies: the horizon of the imaginary now features the ‘androgynous’ woman and the ‘gynandrous’ man, while conception occurs in a relational vacuum.

Author Biography

Paola Di Nicola, University of Verona, Italy

Department of Human Sciences




How to Cite

Di Nicola, P. (2021). Woman, Body, Conception: Unveiling the Arcana. Italian Sociological Review, 11(2), 531. https://doi.org/10.13136/isr.v11i2.453




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