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Sociology Research

 

Sigrid Vertommen is working as a research associate at Reprosoc, in the Department of Sociology of the University of Cambridge. She is coordinating a work package on the political economy of in/fertility in the Wellcome Trust-funded project on Changing in/Fertilties, directed by Prof. Sarah Franklin and Prof. Marcia Inhorn. Her contribution to the project draws on qualitative research on the political economy of international surrogacy between Israel and Georgia, in which she analyses the changing regimes of labour and property in the fertility industry.

Previously, Sigrid worked as a Marie Curie fellow at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King's College London where she conducted qualitative research on the political economy of global fertility chains, with an empirical focus on the fertility chain between Israel/Palestine and Georgia. She is particularly interested in understanding women's role and participation in the reproductive bio-economy as egg vendors and surrogates through the lens of reproductive labour. This research builds further on Sigrid's PhD project 'State of the //ART// of the State: the political economy of assisted reproduction in Israel/Palestine', in which she addressed the multiple ways in which reproductive technologies, including IVF, Pergonal, child removals, sperm smuggling, egg donation and transnational surrogacy, have been imagined, materialised and coproduced in Israel/Palestine, at the crossroads of ongoing histories of settler colonialism, biocapitalism and bio/necropolitics.

Her work has been published in journals including BioSocieties, New Genetics and Society and Science as Culture, and edited volumes such as 'Mattering: Feminism, Science and Materialism' edited by Victoria Pitts-Taylor, 'Assisted reproduction in a European and globalized perspective: notes on the overall framework' edited by Nina Lykke and Merete Lie, 'Critical Kinship studies: Kinship (trans)formed' edited by Charlotte Kroløkke e.a. She is now working on a book project on Fertility Frontiers.

She is also active in the Slow Science Movement in Belgium.

Research Interests

Sigrid's research interests focus on the socio-political study of (assisted) reproduction, from an interdisciplinary perspective that includes science and technology studies, (settler)colonial studies, feminist studies, critical race studies and political economy.

She is particularly interested in the following themes:

  • political economy of assisted reproduction
  • sexual divisions of labour under capitalism
  • surrogacy and egg cell provision as reproductive labour
  • the role of (assisted) reproduction in (settler)colonial societies
  • the relation between social and/or biological reproduction and resistance
  • Israel/Palestine and Zionism

Research Projects

Sigrid is coordinating a work package on the political economy of in/fertility in the Wellcome Trust-funded project on Changing in/Fertilties, directed by Prof. Sarah Franklin and Prof. Marcia Inhorn. This is based on her qualitative research on the political economy of international surrogacy between Israel and Georgia, in which she is particularly interested in understanding the changing regimes of labour and property in the fertility industry.

She received a small Wellcome Trust in 2018 to organise a series of activities on the political economy of global fertility chains, together with Michal Nahman, Bronwyn Parry and Cathy Herbrand.

Sigrid is also involved in an artistic-academic collaboration with the Belgian audio-visual artist Ailien Reyns in Tools for Reproductive Labour, a participatory intermedia artwork that looks at the (dis)continuities in the gendered identities, narratives and imaginaries of various reproductive workers across the globe, including surrogates in Georgia, sex workers and cleaners in London, care workers in Belgian nursery homes, as well as (grand)mothers nursing their (grand)children and fertility coaches in Israel/Palestine.

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Vertommen, Sigrid. 2017."Babies from behind the bars: stratified assisted reproduction in Israel/Palestine”. In Assisted Reproduction in Movement Standardization and Renegotiation. Eds. Merete Lie and Nina Lykke, Routledge. pp. 207-218.

Vertommen, Sigrid. 2016. "Towards a Political economy of egg donations: doing it the Israel way". In: Critical Kinship Studies: Kinship (Trans)formed', Eds. By Kroløkke, Adrian, Myong and Tjørnhøj Thomsen. Rowman and Littlefield International. pp: 169-184.

Vertommen, Sigrid. 2016. “Female bodily (re)productivity in the stem cell economy: a cross materialist feminist approach”. in Mattering: Feminism, Science and Materialism. Ed. Victoria Pitts Taylor, NYU Press. pp. 204-223.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Merleau-Ponty, Noémie., Vertommen Sigrid and Pucéat Michel. 2018. "I6 Passages: On the Reproduction of a Human Embryonic Stem Cell Line from Israel to France". New Genetics and Society.

Vertommen, Sigrid. 2017. “From the Pergonal Project to Kadimastem: A genealogy of Israel’s reproductive-industrial complex”. BioSocieties 12(2): pp. 282-306.

Research Groups & Affiliations

Job Title:
Research Associate
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