On Gestational Communism

Marie Glassl, Sophie Lewis

Surrogate Abolition
Sophie Lewis in Conversation with Marie Glassl

Date de parution : 26.05.2023


Marie Glassl: Sophie, why and how did you begin to write about surrogacy?

Sophie Lewis: While doing my PhD in human geography I was working on the categories of work and nature and the possibility that the entities and organisms that we call nature are in fact not separate from the domain of work. By looking at the work of nature, I wanted to contribute to existing lines of ecomarxist and “more-than-humanist” inquiry that were probing how certain forms of work might trouble established political economic frameworks.

And I ended up reaching for the ground zero of the production of the human: gestation. Birth and natality are talked about all the time, yet the actual work of manufacturing fetuses is very much bracketed.

It remains challenging to speak about gestation in terms of labour. It is easier to begin by isolating the waged gestational workplace. But commercial surrogacy for me was a way of exploring the more-than-human productivity of all pregnancies. Pregnancy is a great illustration of the fact that, in Donna Haraway’s words, what we call the human is always already a multispecies relationship.

MG: Do we have to go as far as to say that there is no actual difference between “natural” gestation and surrogacy as they are both “capitalist functions of the uterus,” a production of the human? I often feel like the hardest part for people is to accept that there is no natural bond between a mother and her baby, to somehow accept that what we call love is produced.

SL: That’s right. The naturalization of certain labours (notably labours of love) is a mechanism of gender that often feels very painful to make visible. Generally, under capitalism, I think we cannot tolerate the idea of being the products of others’ labours. We prefer the metaphysical language of kinship-as-given: a concept of automatic createdness grounded in a blood- or DNA-fetish that casts progeny as intellectual property and private property.

Actually, as you may recall, I start Full Surrogacy Now by describing the beauty, danger and violence of pregnancy: “It is a wonder we let fetuses inside us.” But it is not, in my opinion, that there is “no actual difference” between what we call surrogacy and what we call having-a-baby. You’re right in that I wanted to show that the difference between the two things is mystified enormously by the bioclinical...

  • naissance
  • famille
  • communisme

Veuillez choisir votre langue

Contenu selectionné

Sophie Lewis

Sophie Lewis

vit à Philadelphie. Ses analyses des anti-utopies féministes, des documentaires sur les poulpes et des artéfacts télévisuels hétérosexuels ont été publiés entre autres dans n+1, Harper’s, le New York Times, la London Review of Books et la Boston Review. Sophie Lewis est l’auteure de Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, et dernièrement de Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation. Études d’anglistique et de théorie de l’environnement à Oxford, doctorat en géographie humaine à l’université de Manchester. Elle enseigne la théorie féministe, la politique trans et queer et la philosophie anti-work au Brooklyn Institute for Social Research – ses cours sont disponibles gratuitement en ligne. Elle est chercheuse invitée au Center for Research on Feminist, Queer and Transgender Studies de l’université de Pennsylvanie et auteure indépendante. Ses conférences et essais sont archivés à l’adresse lasophielle.org.
Autres textes de Sophie Lewis parus chez DIAPHANES