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In The Public Life of the Fetal Sonogram, medical anthropologist Janelle S. Taylor analyzes the full sociocultural context of ultrasound technology and imagery. Drawing upon ethnographic research both within and beyond the medical setting, Taylor shows how ultrasound has entered into public consumer culture in the United States. The book documents and critically analyzes societal uses for ultrasound such as nondiagnostic "keepsake" ultrasound businesses that foster a new consumer market for these blurry, monochromatic images of eagerly awaited babies, and anti-abortion clinics that use ultrasound in an attempt to make women bond with the fetuses they carry, inciting a pro-life state of mind.
This book offers much-needed critical awareness of the less easily recognized ways in which ultrasound technology is profoundly social and political in the United States today.
1 Introduction 1
2 Sonographers and the Making of the Public Fetus 26
3 Obstetrical Ultrasound between Medical Practice and Public Culture 52
4 Love Machine: The Theory of Ultrasound Bonding 77
5 Prenatal Diagnosis, Pregnancy, and Consumption 116
6 Entertaining Fetuses: Keepsake Ultrasound and Crisis Pregnancy Centers 144
7 Afterword 169