Men's Narratives of Vasectomy

Rearticulating Masculinity and Contraceptive Responsibility in San José, Costa Rica

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Abstract

This article interrogates the modes by which cultural constructions of male contraceptive use emerge in Costa Rica by analyzing men's narratives of vasectomy. Drawing on ethnographic research data, I examine men's contraceptive decision making and perspectives on vasectomy and specify the ways they work through their vasectomy to rearticulate the relationship between masculinity and contraceptive responsibility and tensions in an emerging Costa Rican social modernity. Following Oudshoorn's (2003) analysis on male contraceptive research, this article highlights contraceptive technologies and men's narratives of these technologies as key sites for examining gender politics in contemporary societies and the materialization of new social orders. In the discussion, I argue that the men's narratives examined here potentiate creation of an “alternative technosociality” (Oudshoorn 2003) in Costa Rica, in which men taking contraceptive responsibility does not constitute performing a subordinate masculinity, but simply another way of acting as men.

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