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Type: Journal article
Title: Material feminism and epigenetics: a ‘critical window for engagement’?
Author: Warin, M.
Hammarström, A.
Citation: Australian Feminist Studies, 2018; 33(97):299-315
Publisher: Carfax Publishing
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0816-4649
Statement of
Megan Warin and Anne Hammarström
Abstract: While there is increasing interest in gender and sex issues in the medical field, most research in medicine can still be defined as operating with a binary of sex/gender. Epigenetics presents a marked challenge to such binaries as it operates across many tightly held boundaries, blurring the lines between the biological and social. Feminist scholars are paying attention to this new field and reconsidering relationships between the politics of matter, biologies and the social in new ways. The aim of this article is to investigate how theoretical insights from material feminism might enhance epigenetic research. Rather than repeat important critical arguments that point to the dangers of reductionism and biological essentialism, we make a case for examining the ways that material feminism can engage with epigenetic research by broadening ideas of reproduction (beyond in-utero effects) to relational and political views of gender and sex within a materialist framework. In conclusion, we suggest that a focus on material-discursive co-formations has the potential to contribute to an established body of feminist theory and science work; increasing awareness of the intra-action of gender and sex in relation to exposures, and increasing political leverage in supporting health-enhancing environments.
Keywords: Material feminism; epigenetics; politics of reproduction
Rights: © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
RMID: 0030102490
DOI: 10.1080/08164649.2018.1538695
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