Not available in 2020/21
SO4B4      Half Unit
The New Reproductive Sociology

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Charis Thompson STC.S102


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Economy, Risk and Society and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Prioirty will be given to students on the MSc Sociology, MSc Economy, Risk and Society and MSc Culture and Society.

Course content

The field of Reproductive Sociology is opening up new areas to empirical sociological research and spurring exciting new directions in sociological theory.  The study of social reproduction, of assisted reproductive and selecting technologies, and of gendered bodily and emotional labor reveals patterns of globalization and domestic intersectional stratification, new definitions of the family, thriving markets in bodily and intimate labour, and new migratory pathways. Theoretically, reproductive sociology lends new understanding to debates about the future of work, new forms of the division of labour, expansion of markets and limits to markets, migration, platform capitalism, and inequality. Reproductive sociology makes evident fungibilities among economic, moral, bodily, aesthetic, social, and cultural capital and takes these interfaces as a lens through which to interrogate the very foundations of social order and change.


25 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

An annotated bibliography for the summative essay.

Indicative reading

Recommended texts:

Viviana Zelizer, The Purchase of Intimacy, 2010

Ashley Mears, Pricing Beauty, 2011

Sarah Franklin, Biological Relatives, 2014

Evelynn Nakano Glenn, Forced to Care, 2010

Charis Thompson, 2014. Three Times a Woman: Voting, Egg Donation, Cosmetics, and the Punctuated Gendering of Stem Cell Innovation in California.

Alondra Nelson, The Social Life of DNA, 2016

Osagie Obasogie and Marcy Darnovsky, eds., Beyond Bioethics, Toward a New Biopolitics, 2018

Katherine Dow, Making a Good Life, 2016


Essay (80%, 4000 words) in the ST.
In-class assessment (20%) in the LT.

20% will be assessed for seminar participation, split equally between leading student discussion once during the term, and participating actively in discussion and listening throughout the term. Students will be asked to submit a one-paragraph description of something they contributed and something they learned from their peers, and a one-paragraph description of their participation at the end of the course.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2019/20: 13

Average class size 2019/20: 13

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills