Frozen Futures: The Market for Egg Freezing in Germany and the United States
How does egg freezing, an expensive medical procedure that only the privileged few can afford, come to be framed as an act of empowerment? The study investigates how popular discourse on the market for egg freezing differs between Germany and the United States. The idea of "egg freezing as an act of empowerment" resonates with women in the United States due to the specific relationship between second-wave American feminism and neoliberalism. This institutional context puts women in a position where they feel their personal and professional goals are in conflict and egg freezing enables them to imagine a future where this tension has been resolved. In a country such as Germany, where these institutional barriers exert less pressure on women to choose between personal and professional success, egg freezing fails to capture women's imagination and is perceived as an unnecessary technical solution addressing a problem that few of them feel they have. This project draws upon recent methods for the analysis of text from computational social science as well as recent work in economic sociology on the relationship between markets and morals. Project duration: October 2014 to March 2018.