Socializing the public: invoking Hannah Arendt’s critique of modernity to evaluate reproductive technologies
The article examines the writings of one of the most influential political philosophers, Hannah Arendt, and specifically focuses on her views regarding the distinction between the private and the public and the transformation of the public to the social by modernity. Arendt’s theory of human activity and critique of modernity are explored to critically evaluate the social contributions and implications of reproductive technologies especially where the use of such technologies is most dominant within Western societies. Focusing on empirical studies on new reproductive technologies in Israel, it is argued, powerfully demonstrates Arendt’s theory, and broadens the perspectives through which society should evaluate these new technologies towards a more reflective understanding of its current laws and policies and their affect on women more generally.
KeywordsReproductive technologies Hannah Arendt Reproductive health law and policy Israel
- Benhabib, Seyla. 1996. The reluctant modernism of Hannah Arendt. Thousand Oaks, London & New Delhi: Sage Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2010. National Vital Statistic System. Death rates by 10-year age groups: US and each state 1999–2007. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/mortality/gmwk23r.htm. 30 Dec 2010.
- Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel. 2010. Mortality Rates per 1000 Residents by Age, Religion and Sex. Statistical abstract of Israel, 2010 no. 61. Available: http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/shnaton/text_search_eng_new.html?CYear=2010&Vol=61&input=mortality. 30 Dec 2010.
- Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel, Patterns of fertility in 2005 (28.8.06). Available at: http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/newhodaot/hodaa_template.html?hodaa=200601184. (in Hebrew).
- Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel, Patterns of fertility in 2007 (16.11.08). Available at http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/newhodaot/hodaa_template.html?hodaa=200801231. (in Hebrew).
- Cohen, Jean L. 1997. Rethinking privacy: Autonomy, identity, and the abortion controversy. In Public and private in thought and in practice: Perspectives on a grand dichotomy, eds. J. Weintraub, and K. Kumar, 133–165. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- D’entrèves, Maurizio Passerin. 1994. The political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. London & NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Department of Health. 2009. Abortions statistics: England and Wales: 2008, Table 3. Available: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/DH_099285. 21 May 2009.
- Harwood, K. 2007. The infertility treadmill: Feminist ethics, personal choice, and the use of reproductive technologies. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
- Hashiloni-Dolev, Y. 2007. A life (Un)worthy of living. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
- Hegel, G.W.F. 2001. Philosophy of right. (trans: Dyde, S.W.). Kitchener, Ontario: Batoche Books Ltd.Google Scholar
- Heyd, David. 2009. Male or female we will create them: The ethics of sex selection for non-medical reasons. In Reprogen-ethics and the future of gender, ed. Frida Simonstein, 161–173. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Kahn, S.M. 2000. Reproducing Jews: A cultural account of assisted conception in Israel (Body, commodity, text). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Kohn, Jerome. 2000. Freedom: The priority of the political. In The Cambridge companion to Hannah Arendt, 113–129. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kukla, R. 2005. Mass hysteria: Medicine, culture and mother’s bodies. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- MacKinnon, Catherine A. 1987. Feminism unmodified: Discourses on life and law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Health. 2009. Termination of pregnancies by law 1990–2008. Available: http://www.health.gov.il/pages/default.asp?maincat=2&catid=576&pageid=4944. 14 Dec 2009 (in Hebrew).
- O’Brien, Mary. 1981. The politics of reproduction. Boston, London & Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Offer, A. 2006. The challenge of affluence. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Office for National Statistics. 2010. Deaths: Age and sex, numbers and rates 1976 onwards (England and Wales). Available at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=9552. 30 Dec 2010.
- Parnes, E. and A. Asch. 2000. Introduction. In Prenatal testing and disability rights, eds. Erik Parnes and Adrienne Asch, ix–xvi. Washington: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
- Pateman, C. 1983. Feminist critiques of the public/private dichotomy. In Public and private in social life, eds. S.I. Benn, and G.F. Gaus. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
- Pitkin, Hannah F. 1981. Justice: On relating private and public. Political Theory 9(3): 327–352.Google Scholar
- Pitkin, Hannah F. 1995. Conformism, housekeeping, and the attack of the blob: The origins of Hannah Arendt’s concept of the social. In Feminist interpretations of Hannah Arrendt, ed. Bonnie Honig, 51–81. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
- Population Reference Bureau. 2008. World population data sheet. Available at: http://www.prb.org/pdf08/08WPDS_Eng.pdf. Accessed on 5 Feb 2009.
- Remennick, L. 2006. The quest after the perfect baby: Why do Israeli women seek prenatal genetic testing? Sociology of Health & Illness 28(1): 21–53.Google Scholar
- Rich, Adrienne. 1979. Conditions for work: The common world of women. In On lies, secrets, and silence: Selected prose, 1966–1978, 204–214. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Robertson, John. 1994. Children of choice: Freedom and the new reproductive technologies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Rosato, J.L. 2004. The children of ART: Should the law protect them from harm? Utah Law Review 57: 110.Google Scholar
- Sennet, R. 1974. The fall of public man. New York, NY: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Shanley, M.L. 2001. Making babies, making families: What matters most in an age of reproductive technologies, surrogacy, adoption and same-sex and unwed parents. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Sperling, Daniel. 2008. Posthumous interest: Legal and ethical perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Weiss, Meira. 1994. Conditional love: Parents’s attitudes toward handicapped children. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publications.Google Scholar