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Dissertation Defence: Pandemic Reproduction: An Ethnography of Disjunctures and Im/Mobilities in Sundsvall, Sweden
June 5 at 9:30 am - 1:30 pm
Kelsey Marr, supervised by Dr. Sue Frohlick, will defend their dissertation titled “Pandemic Reproduction: An Ethnography of Disjunctures and Im/Mobilities in Sundsvall, Sweden” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies.
An abstract for Kelsey’s dissertation is included below.
Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in-person defences.
This dissertation is an interdisciplinary feminist ethnography about human reproduction during the pandemic for people living in Sundsvall, Sweden. It focuses on the disjunctures, or disconnections, existing between dominate stories about the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden and the lived experiences of people who were pregnant, experienced reproductive traumas, gave birth, or raised children between 2020 and 2022. It is based primarily on ethnographic research consisting of participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and informal conversations in places of work, homes, social gatherings. I conducted fieldwork between 2019 and 2022, primarily between March 2021-March 2022. I also used archival methods, and therefore my research also draws on public health documents. This study shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic (an on-going global crisis), “pandemic reproduction” was entangled in existing socio-political processes. A reproductive mobilities framework is thus critical to understand the ways in which public health measures and healthcare systems shape the circumstances, well-being, and aspirations of people who reproduce during the pandemic. Their reproductive realities are shaped but not subsumed by pandemic responses alone. A feminist lens that attends to the biopolitical stratification of both reproduction and pandemic responses is necessary to shed light on the often-overlooked dimensions of communicational, virtual, temporal, and imaginative mobilities that frame, and are critical to, the lives of people to reproduced during the pandemic.
This study contributes to the ethnographies of the COVID-19 pandemic by underscoring the local and personal diversity in the pandemic experiences and circumstance of people living in Sweden. Lastly, this work helps refine feminist anthropology of reproduction by demonstrating the need for critical, theoretical attention to reproductive mobilities, and more broadly, by refusing to reduce pandemic reproduction to a binary discussion of baby booms and busts.