Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture

Biopolitics and reproduction

Illustrative photo of an egg cell

This website is at the moment being updated.

How are questions about the body, medicine and reproduction related to technology, science and politics? This question hides many different topics. Within our interdisciplinary research group, we have several projects concerning the regulation and development of the biotechnology practice in Norway. We also have projects that are based on sex and reproduction, and how human reproduction and parenthood produces gendered and cultural categories on community and nation. Other related foci are cultural understandings of the body and its substances, the relationship between humans and animals, and various discussions related to the politicization of medicine, biotechnology and life (Life Itself) as part of the biopolical field.

We study the ways in which the Norwegian biopolicy is influenced by modern scientific knowledge as it is communicated in the media in public debate and political controversy. Is it so that new knowledge produces changes in the understanding of nature and natural? Traditionally, nature is regarded as unchangeable, as opposed to culture. Is it true that the limit of what is regarded natural and cultural is shifted or erased, and is nature regarded as more flexible and changeable than before?


Current Projects

Articulations of surrogacy

Articulations of surrogacy on the web sites of transnational surrogacy agencies in Russia 

Contact person: Maria Kirpichenko

Digital Life

Centre for digital life Norway

Contact person: Heidrun Åm

Centre for Digital Life Norway (DLN) is a national centre for biotechnical research and innovation. The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture is leading the Responsible Research and Innovation group at DLN. Here we work at building and maintaining a national biotechnical RRI infrastructure, and contribute to better integration of RRI in the research projects of DLN.  

More on this project in the following link: 


Microbes, humans and microbiopolitics, 1660-2016

This project is a part of the research project In Food We Trust
Contact person: Terje Finstad

In the aftermath of the so called Human Microbiome Project (HMP), which sought to map the microbes which live in and on the human body and their impact on human health and disease, there has been a veritable tidal wave of popular scientific books and articles regarding bacteria of the colon and the human microbiome. Like the older Human Genome Project, HMP was followed by considerable hope of another biological “revolution”.

This project historicizes the contemporary microbiotic discourses by looking at the changes in perception of the relation between microbes and humans, from the first observation of bacteria at the end of the 17th century – via “Pasteurian” understandings of bacteria and bodies – to contemporary research on microbiomes. What metaphors are in play in these different periods, and how are they forming the contemporary understandings of bodies, health and well-being? In other words: What microbiopolitical regimes are in play? 

Skin Deep

Skin Deep: Entanglements of Materiality and Difference in Questions of the Human 

Contact person: Sara Orning

The Trans(gender) Equality Paradox

Assessing the impact of Prop.74L (2015-2016) on trans or gender-conforming (TGNC) people who change their juridical sex in Norway

Contact person: france rose hartline

france is researching the impact of the July 2016 law reform that enables individuals in Norway to change their juridical gender without medical sterilisation or state assessment. Situated in the poststructuralist framework of queer theory, france’s research examines how transpeople’s personal experiences and social roles are shaped by the law reform. Special focus is given to the socio-legal framework that informs cultural understandings of gender.

Through interviews with transpeople who have changed their legal gender since the law reform, and an analysis of the law reform and its accompanying materials, france seeks to demonstrate how subjectivities are materialised through gendered citizenship. Ultimately, he hopes to both explore the link between legal identity and personal experiences, as well as better inform public and state discussions on what changes may be best for the Norwegian transmovement.