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Conceiving Masculinity

In Conceiving Masculinity, Liberty Walther Barnes puts the world of male infertility under the microscope to examine how culturally pervasive notions of gender shape our understanding of disease, and how disease impacts our personal ideas about gender. Taking readers inside male infertility clinics, and interviewing doctors and couples dealing with male infertility, Barnes provides a rich account of the social aspects of the confusing and frustrating diagnosis of infertility. She explains why men resist a stigmatizing label like "infertile," and how men with poor fertility redefine for themselves what it means to be manly and masculine in a society that prizes male virility. Conceiving Masculinity also details how and why men embrace medical technologies and treatment for infertility. Broaching a socially taboo topic, Barnes emphasizes that infertility is not just a women's issue. She shows how gender and disease are socially constructed within social institutions and by individuals.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1 Mobilizing Gay Rights under Authoritarianism 2 Legal Restrictions, Political Norms, and Being Gay in Singapore 3 Timorous Beginnings 4 Cyber Organizing 5 Transition 6 Coming Out 7 Mobilizing in the Open 8 Pragmatic Resistance, Law, and Social Movements Appendix A: Research Design and Methods Appendix B: Study Respondents: Singapore's Gay Activists Appendix C: Singapore's Gay Movement Organizations and Major Events Notes References Index

Promotional Information

Shining a light on the world of male infertility, and how clinics bolster and protect men's notions of masculinity

About the Author

Liberty Walther Barnes is a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge.


"[A] compassionate and substantive analysis of male infertility. Her ethnographic work is two-pronged: first, it reveals the history of male infertility and the responses of modern medicine; second, it studies the ways in which this oft-hidden precinct of medicine works overtime to bolster the masculinity of its patients [...] Barnes weaves a bounty of analytic threads into a compelling ethnography whose interviews with infertile men and their (mostly male) doctors make the story come richly alive in this overdue study." - Publishers Weekly

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