Theses Doctoral

Legal Texts, Human Bodies: Reading Embodiment in the Biotech Age

Mykitiuk, Roxanne

This dissertation consists of two separately published articles and one book chapter linked together by their investigation of the legal regulation of reproductive and genetic technologies. In "Fragmenting the Body" I explore how law is to understand the relationship between the person and the body, and the body and its parts in the context of the instrumental uses to which reproductive and genetic material can be put. Drawing on feminist and postmodernist theories, the article critiques the liberal legal conception of personhood and argues in favour of an embodied account of personhood as central to the legal metaphors and categories we should use in analyzing novel social and material arrangements.

"Public Bodies, Private Parts: Genetics in a Post-Keynesian Era" analyzes the use of the new genetics and the role of geneticization in the privatization orientation of the Canadian state from 1990-2002. The chapter defines and explores the relationships among genetics, geneticization and privatization, and demonstrates how a new discourse of health is central to the privatization agenda. The chapter examines three policy/legal initiatives of the Canadian government regulating the new genetics and demonstrates how law operates to further the values and objectives of privatization. Finally, the chapter addresses the gendered impact of the relationship between the new genetics and privatization.

In "Beyond Conception: Legal Determinations of Filiation in the Context of Assisted Reproductive Technologies" I argue that legal determinations of filiation are normative ideological constructions about how societal relations between children and parents should be ordered. They are based on particular understandings of the relationship between social and biological facts and operate to create asymmetrical relationships between the categories of maternity and paternity. I suggest that developments in reproductive and genetic filiation offer the potential for an expanded understanding of relatedness which does not take the two-parent -one of each sex--model of the family as its normative form.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Fineman, Martha A.
J.S.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 5, 2013