The Male Pill: A Biography of a Technology in the Making

The Male Pill: A Biography of a Technology in the Making

by Nelly Oudshoorn
     
 

The Male Pill is the first book to reveal the history of hormonal contraceptives for men. Nelly Oudshoorn explains why it is that, although the technical feasibility of male contraceptives was demonstrated as early as the late 1970s, there is, to date, no male pill. Ever since the idea of hormonal contraceptives for men was introduced, Oudshoorn stresses,

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Overview

The Male Pill is the first book to reveal the history of hormonal contraceptives for men. Nelly Oudshoorn explains why it is that, although the technical feasibility of male contraceptives was demonstrated as early as the late 1970s, there is, to date, no male pill. Ever since the idea of hormonal contraceptives for men was introduced, Oudshoorn stresses, scientists, feminists, journalists, and pharmaceutical entrepreneurs have questioned whether men and women would accept a new male contraceptive if one were available. Providing a richly detailed examination of the cultural, policy, and scientific work around the male pill from the 1960s through the 1990s, she advances work at the intersection of gender studies and the sociology of technology.

Oudshoorn emphasizes that the introduction of contraceptives for men depends to a great extent on changing ideas about reproductive responsibility. Initial interest in the male pill, she shows, came from outside the scientific community: from the governments of China and India, which were interested in population control, and from Western feminists, who wanted the responsibilities and health risks associated with contraception shared more equally between the sexes. She documents how in the 1970s, the World Health Organization took the lead in investigating male contraceptives by coordinating an unprecedented, worldwide research network. She chronicles how the search for a male pill required significant reorganization of drug-testing standards and protocols and of the family-planning infrastructure-including founding special clinics for men, creating separate spaces for men within existing clinics, enrolling new professionals, and defining new categories of patients. The Male Pill is ultimately a story as much about the design of masculinities in the last decades of the twentieth-century as it is about the development of safe and effective technologies.

About the Author
Nelly Oudshoorn is Professor of Gender and Technology at Twente University. She is the author of Beyond the Natural Body: An Archaeology of Sex Hormones and coeditor of Bodies of Technology: Women's Involvement with Reproductive Medicine.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822331957
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
09/01/2003
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Pt. IOvercoming Resistance: Constructing Alternative Sociotechnical Networks
1Designing Technology and Masculinity3
2How Man Came to Be Included in the Contraceptive Research Agenda19
3Creating a Worldwide Laboratory for Synthesizing Hormonal Contraceptive Compounds52
4The Inaccessible Man: The Quest for Male Trial Participants and Test Locations69
5The Co-construction of Technologies and Risks86
Pt. IIConfiguring the User: Articulating and Performing Masculinities
6The Politics of Language: Changing Family Planning Discourse to Include Men113
7Making Room for Men: Configuring Men as Clients of Family Planning Clinics140
8"The First Man on the Pill": Disciplining Men as Reliable Test Subjects171
9On Masculinities, Technologies, and Pain: The Testing of Male Contraceptives in the Clinic and the Media191
10Articulating Acceptability209
11Technologies of Trust225
Notes243
Bibliography269
Index293

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