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Dialectics of Reproduction

  • By: Joani Mortenson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The concept of the dialectic of reproduction refers to the contradiction in perspectives and experiences on the processes of human reproduction between the genders, as well as referencing conflicting concepts on subjectivity, including essentialism and constructivism. Theories of subjectivity that are dialectical and significant to reproduction hold that essentialism reduces and rationalizes the experiences of the person or subject to their biology—in particular, the expression of their gender.

The notion of essentialization holds that male and females are naturalized in their gender roles and that biology determines the expression of these roles. For example, essentialism would hold that females are good at nurturing, which is why they often prefer to play with dolls or care for babies; and males are aggressive, which is why they enjoy ...

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