Article Information

THE RELIGIOUS COMPONENT OF NON-MEDICAL INSTRUMENTALIZATION OF REPRODUCTION: THE ZACHATYEVSKIY MONASTERY IN NARRATIVES OF USERS OF THE “BABYBLOG” PARENT FORUM

Tatiana Krikhtova (krihtova@gmail.com)

St. Tikhon Orthodox University, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Litvintsev D. (2020) Religioznaya sostavlyayushchaya vnemeditsinskoy instrumentalizatsii reproduktsii: Zachat'yevskiy monastyr' v narrativakh pol'zovatel'nits roditel'skogo foruma «Bebiblog» [The religious component of non-medical instrumentalization of reproduction: the Zachatyevskiy Monastery in narratives of users of the “Babyblog” parent forum]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 23(1): 198–222 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2020.23.1.7

Abstract. Reproductive medicine today is available to a large number of people. The women who became mothers with the help of special medical procedures want to reflect on their situation and “appropriate” a child who did not appear “naturally”. They use for such reflection the language of the religion they belong to. The article makes the first attempt to describe such a reflection among women belonging to the Orthodox Church. In this article the practices related to the Zachatyevsky Monastery in Moscow are described. The author analyzes narratives of one of the largest Russian-speaking parental forums — the Babyblog as well as the results of her field observation in the monastery. Among women with reproductive problems an instrumentalization of reproduction is formed — the process of creating new non-medical practices that can contribute to conception. This tradition does not deny either medicine or religion but gives them extra power through magical rituals and emotional support of each other. In this case women become the main authorities on reproduction for each other and active participants in the process of overcoming infertility. The instrumentalization of reproduction often implies places, symbols, and rituals associated with Orthodoxy. This creates an implicit theology of motherhood — a comprehension of Christianity which is clearly understood by all participants. The main actors here are women and they are the main recipients of the divine.

Keywords: reproductive health, Orthodoxy, monastery, Internet research, rituals, communities. 

Acknowledgments

The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 18-78-10089).

References

Alekseyeva A.A. (2017) Rechevyye strategii i taktiki v onlayn-obshchenii roditeley (na materiale sayta www.mothering.com) [Speech strategies and tactics in online communication of parents (on the www.mothering.com)]. Odin poyas — odin put'. Lingvistika vzaimodeystviya [One belt — one way. Linguistics of interaction]. Ekaterinburg: Ural State pedagogical University Pabl.: 6–8 (in Russian).

Allison J. (2011) Conceiving silence: infertility as discursive contradiction in Ireland. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 25(1): 1–21.

Becker G. (1994) Metaphors in disrupted lives: Infertility and cultural constructions of continuity. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 8(4): 383–410.

Bell A.V. (2009) “It’s Way out of my League” Low-income Women’s Experiences of Medicalized Infertility. Gender & Society, 23(5): 688–709.

Birenbaum-Carmeli D., Carmeli Y.S. (2010) Kin, gene, community: reproductive technologies among Jewish Israelis. New York: Berghahn Books.

Belyayev L.A. (2019) Monastyri moskovskoy Rusi: etapy arkheologicheskogo izucheniya i sovremennoye sostoyaniye [Monasteries of Moscow Russia: stages of archaeological study and current status]. Kratkiye soobshcheniya Instituta arkheologii [Brief Communications of the Institute of Archeology], 256: 7–22 (in Russian).

Bruno E. (1981) Ethnography as Narrative. In: The Anthropology of Experience. Worcester: Urbana.

Bühler N., König A. (2015) Making Kinship in Switzerland and Beyond: Imaginations and Substances. Sociologus, 65(1): 1–10.

Deomampo D. (2016) Transnational reproduction: Race, kinship, and commercial surrogacy in India. Vol. 1. New York: NYU Press.

Emelyanova T.P. (2006) The construction of social concepts in the conditions of transformation of Russian society [The construction of social concepts in the conditions of transformation of Russian society]. Moskow: Institut psikhologii RAN Pabl. [Institute of Psychology RAS] (in Russian).

Gilimkhanova S. (2015) Osobennosti slovoobrazovaniya na saytakh dlya roditeley (na primere saytov baby.ru, deti.mail.ru, babyblog.ru) [Features of word-forming on sites for parents (on the example of sites baby.ru, deti.mail.ru, babyblog.ru)]. Filologiya i kul'turologiya. Aktual'nyye nauchnyye issledovaniya. Teoriya, praktika [Philology and cultural studies. Actual scientific research. Theory, practice]. Warsaw: Diamond trading tour: 81–85 (in Russian).

Greil A. (2002) Infertile Bodies: Medicalization, Metaphor, and Agency. In: Infertility around the globe: New thinking on childlessness, gender, and reproductive technologies. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Isupova O.G. (2014) Rody kak tsennost' v internet-diskurse subfertil'nykh zhenshchin o donorstve yaytsekletok i surrogatnom materinstve [Childbirth as a value in the Internet discourse of subfertile women about egg donation and surrogacy]. Zhurnal issledovaniy sotsialnoy politiki [Social Policy Research Journal], 12(3): 381–394 (in Russian).

Kormina Z.V. (2019) Palomniki. Etnograficheskiye ocherki pravoslavnogo nomadizma [Pilgrims. Ethnographic essays of Orthodox nomadism]. Moskva: Izdatel'skiy dom VSE Pabl. (in Russian).

Lockerbie S. (2014) Infertility, adoption and metaphorical pregnancies. Anthropologica. 56(2): 463–471.

Lomonosova M.V., Bogomyagkova E.S. (2015) Reproduktivnyye prava cheloveka i vspomogatel'nyye reproduktivnyye tekhnologii: novyye formy i vidy neravenstva [Human reproductive rights and assisted reproductive technologies: new forms and types of inequality]. Ekonomicheskiye strategii [Economical strategies], 17(9): 90–97 (in Russian).

Masterkova A.A. (2010) Zhenskiye monastyri Moskvy v gody svyatitel'stva Filareta Moskovskogo [Women's Convents of Moscow during the Hierarchy of Filaret of Moscow]. Filaretovskiy almanakh [Philaret's Almanac], 6: 137-161. (in Russian).

Voronina O.A. (2018) «Novoe» materinstvo: filosofsko-antropologicheskiy vzglyad [“New” motherhood: philosophical-anthropological]. Filosofskaya shkola [School of Philosophy], 6: 104-109. DOI: 10.24411/2541-7673-2018-10647. (in Russian).

Zdravomyslova E., Temkina A. (2011) Vvedeniye. Gender, zdorov'ye, meditsina i intimnaya zhizn' [Introduction. Gender, Health, Medicine and Intimate Life]. In: Zdorov'ye i intimnaya zhizn'. Sotsiologicheskiye podkhody [Health and intimate life. Sociological approaches]. St. Petersburg: European University in St. Petersburg Pabl.: 6–21 (in Russian).