The sacred and the profane in life science
Journal article, 2016
Reproductive medicine and assisted reproduction therapies have been developed over the last decades resulting in over five million babies. The handling of human reproductive materials and patients is based on the ability to combine health care work and techno-scientific expertise in both the clinic and the laboratory setting. This study of Swedish assisted reproductive technology clinics demonstrates that the active day-to-day manipulation of human reproductive materials enact both the ‘profane’, through treating the embryos as raw materials in standardized procedures enabling economies of scale, and the ‘sacred’ through enacting a separation, the potential to human life, the patients ordeals, and seriousness. The enactment of the profane and the sacred is mostly balanced but at certain points in the work procedures, their intersecting becomes particularly salient. Such points provide opportunities for the study of the sense making of professionals in organizational grey zones, during techno-scientific activities.
assisted reproductive technologies
organizational grey zones