Body and Society 21 (1):90-117 (2015)

Rather than being a form of explicitly commodified reproduction, informal surrogacy is practiced in a working-class community in Beijing as part of local affective life, viewed in terms of gifting, favors, filial piety, and family concerns. Through this practice a particular form of biopower, articulated in affective terms, limits some women to serving as instruments of reproduction. Unlike the common western assumption of a physical body as separate from the experiencing subject, the Chinese body has a subjective, experiential dimension. This subjective body harbors an agency with the potential to transform the power exercised on it and to impact the circumstances of the surrogate’s life. I contextualize such agency in the analysis of the ambivalence of these women toward surrogacy and the violence of local kinship systems. Through analyzing how surrogates use their bodies to transform codes, forces and reform the self, the article suggests that informal surrogacy interacts and shapes local affective and political economies.
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DOI 10.1177/1357034x14539357
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Embodiment as a Paradigm for Anthropology.Thomas J. Csordas - 1990 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 18 (1):5-47.
Body, Image and Affect in Consumer Culture.Mike Featherstone - 2010 - Body and Society 16 (1):193-221.

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