From Waste to Profit. Gender, Biopolitics and Neoliberalism in Indian Commercial Surrogacy

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2020
Funding: 7000000 SEK


The project is an interdisciplinary studie of transnational commercial surrogacy (TCS) in India. Although Indian TCS has received substantial scholarly attention, a comprehensive analysis of the underlying socio-cultural, economic and political conditions is still lacking. The project posits that the bodies of poor indian women, considered as ”waste” by previous population policies of the Indian state, become available as sites of profit generation in TCS through the intersections between neoliberal health policies and hierarchies of gender, class, caste and religion. The aim is to demonstrate how this availability is accomplished. We argue that 3 interrelated areas are decisive: The Indian Health Care Industry, The Media and the Family. Postcolonial feminist theory provides the theoretical framework for studying the central themes in the project: gender, biopolitics and neoliberalism. We apply various qualitative methods, including in-depth semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis. Our project offers new crucial knowledge of Indian TCS, but it also contributes to the understanding of the rapidly expanding market in body parts and reproductive labor, and the palpable global inequalities through which it thrives. Thus, our study makes a significant intervention both theoretically and methodologically within a field of pressing societal relevance.It involves 4 researchers from Sweden and India with different disciplinary backgrounds and will take 4 years to complete.

Last updated on 2017-04-10 at 11:55