Public Understandings of Science: British South Asian Men's Perceptions of Third Party Assisted Conception

By Lorraine Culley and Nicky Hudson.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Critics of the deficit model of the public understanding of science and technology have insisted on the importance of conceiving of a plurality of ‘publics’ and a need to identify the local contexts of public engagement with science and technology. However, there has been a noticeable lack of attention to the perceptions of ‘hard to reach’ groups in science research and debate, especially the views of minority ethnic communities. This paper examines this ‘silence’ in the research literature that has addressed the public understanding of new reproductive technologies (NRTs). Presenting data from a study of public perceptions of egg and sperm donation in British South Asian communities, the paper explores the impact of cultural and religious contexts on this process. Findings are presented from focus group discussions carried out with 37 British men of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic origin. The paper argues that participants actively interpret new reproductive technologies in general, and gamete donation in particular, as a process which raises many personal dilemmas and has potentially damaging consequences for wider social relations. It explores these in the context of specific culturally inscribed notions of the procreative body and wider social relationships.

Keywords: Gamete Donation, Third Party Assisted Conception, South Asian, Ethnicity, New Reproductive Technologies

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.79-86. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 563.596KB).

Prof. Lorraine Culley

Professor of Social Science and Health, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Dr. Nicky Hudson

Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK


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