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Essay History Humanities Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Politically Assisted Procreation and State Heterosexualism

By Paul B. Preciado, 2016

The “marriage for all” law, passed by the French Parliament in 2013, could be thought of as a sign of social progress. But if we observe its terms from the viewpoint of contemporary relationships between biotechnologies and sexuality, we can conclude instead that the law has the potential to reinscribe and renaturalize within the juridical domain sexual and gender notions that have become obsolete. This essay looks at how homosexual marriage law in France, from which an amendment was dropped that would have allowed medically assisted procreation for nonheterosexual couples, is used as a technology to govern cells and reproductive materials in a new pharmaco-pornographic arrangement of the nation-state. Sexual reproduction does not happen between legal subjects, fathers and mothers, or in marital beds, but within cells, between bacteria; it is simply and delightfully chromosomal recombination. Molecules do not care about the conventions of social gender, marriage, or heterosexuality, yet all human procreation is politically assisted, requiring a collectivization of a body’s genetic material through a more or less regulated social practice. As such, is it time to invent techniques to manage our reproductive material that surpasses the antagonism between the naturalist forms of reproduction legitimized by the nation-state and the privatization and capitalization techniques of cognitive capitalism where fluids, cells, hormones, molecules, and genes are the object of new processes of extraction, traffic, and exploitation? Keywords: same-sex marriage in France, sexual minorities, assisted reproduction, pharmaco-pornography, cognitive capitalism

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