Gendered embodiment and the time of infertility
Despite recent attempts to retrieve the body within sociology and the assumption of a now 'embodied' framework, how this should be done remains problematic, contentious and disputed. Current tensions more than partially revolve around the difficulty overcoming the limitations of foundationalist and anti-foundationalist approaches, restricting the development of a truly embodied and empirically driven conceptual framework. Remarkably little theory has entered the body and considered the body in terms of its own inner processes, the result of a persistent ontological queasiness concerning bodily interiority. The exclusion of the interior of the body problematises any integration between not just what bodies mean but also what they can do. As a field of location, I address the question of how both the female body and women's embodied experiences within the field of infertility can be both theorised and explored without succumbing to these limitations. Acknowledging the influence of both feminist and hermeneutic perspectives, and situating my approach within a temporal and biographical framework, I acknowledge both the interior and exterior of the female body. An empirical study of 15 women's experiences of infertility treatment was conducted using life story interviews and researcher-solicited diaries. Analysis focused upon the conditions of meaning-making and understanding, emphasising the biographical and temporally-situated of women's narratives in relation to the female body. By overcoming the difficulties admitting the female body into our analyses, this thesis illuminates the process of embodiment itself in the development of a truly embodied and empirically driven theoretical and conceptual framework in this field.