Fragile Truths. The Ethical Labour of Doing Trans-/National Surrogacy in Russia and Ukraine
During my residency at the Brocher Foundation, I aim at revising my PhD thesis for publication. My book "Fragile Truths" shall explore the moral economy of commercial surrogacy – a topic that often provokes a mixture of fascination, voyeuristic interest, and moral judgment. The contested nature of surrogacy, I argue, has a profound effect on how those involved frame and practice surrogacy: they do so by making certain truth claims about the ethics of surrogacy. In the book, I ethnographically examine how actors within and at the fringes of the surrogacy market in Russia and Ukraine “ethically labor” on themselves and others, in order to find, internalize, create and circulate truths about surrogacy. I pay particular attention to how specific words, metaphors, practices, affects, arguments, and logics travel between people and spaces, and thereby become part of a trans-/national ethical repertoire of truth claims. The repertoire of truth claims provides a diverse and powerful toolbox for dissipating individual moral concerns and legitimizing the lucrative fertility business. "Fragile Truths" illustrates the significance of producing truths that accelerate capitalist expansion into new, morally contested, spheres of life, which play out on the bodies of women as mothers and workers.