A/gender for change : a feminist interrogation of secular and theological discourses relating to the new reproductive technologies
The aim of this thesis is to deconstruct the ethical framework, in which the theological community deliberates the new reproductive technologies (NRTs) and to interrogate the constructions of woman and the embryo that have correlated into the ensuing discourses from ecclesiastic traditions. The foundational premise is that the church does not fulfil its pastoral and prophetic role in this increasingly vital socio-cultural area, predominantly because woman’s subject position of invisibility in theological discourses prevents the church from speaking differently to the secular world. The methodology establishes the validity of using critical discourse analysis as a tool of deconstruction based on the insights of Michel Foucault. This is then deployed to interrogate the constructions of woman and the embryo circulating in the popular NRT narratives of the media in order to ground a secular baseline. From this vantage point, critical discourse analysis is undertaken on two church reports and three theological texts. The concluding chapter sketches a different framework of moral perception, within which the church would be enabled to offer greater empathy in its pastoral care and also to prophetically challenge macro-systems of power more effectively.