Games of Life
The Games of Life analyses current reproductive medicine in the Czech Republic. It targets biomedicine, as a concrete manifestation of modern society’s normalization of the Western approach to human health and illness by focusing on three specific fields: childbirth, assisted reproduction, and embryo manipulation. All three themes are approached with the concept of biopower as a form of governance and administration of modern populations (Foucault 1999). The objective of the book is to provide a critical sociological analysis of reproductive medicine, as one of the key poles in the current form of biopower (Rabinow, Rose 2003, 2006). The reason for our focus on this area is the relationship between reproductive medicine in the Czech Republic and technology, the commodification of health and illness, and the normative character of reproductive medicine with its consequences in the broader social context. The authors start by filling the gap in critical reflection and the lack of debate of these issues in the Czech professional context, and by understanding the mechanisms reproducing the hegemony of a biomedical approach to human reproduction beyond national borders. They do so in the Games of Life by providing specific fieldwork data from the Czech context. They focus their empirical analysis on the issues of everyday practice in reproductive medicine, such as establishing trust in the process, or on topics channelling and polarizing both professional and public discussions on transforming the practices of Czech hospital birth, or the debate on the status of the embryo as a bio-object. These particular issues have been studied to answer the research questions: How are the borders between normality/legitimacy in the definitions of health and illness negotiated in reproductive medicine? ... The book analytically situates Czech reproductive biomedicine within a broader critical approach to biosociality manifested in profound changes in contemporary societies.