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MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society


Professor of Sociology
Director: Reproductive Sociology Research Group



Professor Sarah Franklin moved from the London School of Economics to take up the Chair of Sociology at Cambridge in October 2011. In 2012 she received awards from the Wellcome Trust, ESRC, and British Academy to establish the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) which has since gone on to become one of the leading research centres in the rapidly expanding field of reproductive studies.

Franklin was among the first researchers to begin to analyse the forms of social change associated with the introduction of new reproductive technologies in the 1980s. Since completing her PhD research on IVF at the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in 1989, she has published extensively on the social aspects of new reproductive technologies. In addition to assisted conception technologies, Franklin has conducted fieldwork on cloning, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and human embryonic stem cell derivation. Her research combines ethnographic methods with science studies, gender theory, and the study of kinship and she has contributed to a number of emergent fields in social theory including the 'new kinship studies', the feminist analysis of science, the anthropology of biomedicine, and reproductive studies. She has helped to establish several new fields in the social sciences including the 'new kinship studies', the social study of new reproductive technologies, and the cultural analysis of bioscience, biomedicine and biotechnology.

Franklin's first academic posts were in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester and the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. In 1993 she moved to a fulltime position at Lancaster where she was promoted to Chair in the Anthropology of Science in 2001. In 2004 she moved to London School of Economics where she was Professor of Social Studies of Biomedicine and Associate Director of the BIOS Centre until 2011. She has held Visiting professorships at the University of California, the University of Tarragona, the University of Hannover, New York University and the University of Sydney. Her research has been supported by the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, MRC, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, European Commission, British Academy, Mellon Foundation, Philomathia Foundation, ERC and the Wellcome Trust. Throughout her career she has worked closely with clinicians, patients, scientists and policymakers in an attempt to widen sociological engagement with emerging issues in bioscience and biomedicine. She is a Fellow of Christ's College, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and The Royal Society of Biology as well as a Smith College Alumnae and Medallist (2011). In addition to directing the Reproductive Sociology Research Group, Franklin is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, co-Editor of the journal Reproductive Biomedicine and Society, and Chair of the Anne McLaren Trust

Professor Sarah Franklin on the Sociology Department website

Professor Sarah Franklin on the Reproductive Sociology Research Group website


Franklin's current research concerns the early history of UK IVF and she has worked closely with colleagues in the history of science as well as reproductive biology to develop new interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the intersection between reproduction and technology. Through her work on IVF, Franklin has developed new theories of both biology and technology, focussing on the use of biological tools, and the relativization of the category 'biological'. This model, of biological relativity, is the subject of her most recent book and builds on her previous introduction of the terms 'transbiology', 'embodied progress', and 'hope technologies'.

Sarah Franklin


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