The Research Project comprises four consecutive Work Packages

WORK PACKAGE 1. Research Planning-Literature Review (5 months)

Objectives

During this phase the researchers will identify the key issues of the research topics, namely:

a) the cultural manifestations of surrogate motherhood,

b) the attempt to approach the ethnographic text as fiction,

c) the incorporation of multi-media narratives in ethnography.

Apart from the literature review, the research team will refine the research goals and hypotheses, and make preliminary contacts in order to locate informants and fieldwork locales and prepare appropriate discussion guides.

Description of work

Extensive literature review on two separate areas: a) the experience of motherhood for surrogates and social mothers on a wide range of cultural settings in order to identify the key-themes that will be addressed in the fieldwork; and b) theoretical and ethnographic approaches of fictional ethnography and research-based theory on the level of theory, representation and writing, c) the potential and problems that arise from hypertext ethnography on the level of theory, representation and writing (anthropology & literary theory). Selected material gathered from libraries and online resources will be incorporated in the final hypertext in order for it to function as a small-scale database of resources for surrogate motherhood.

WORK PACKAGE 2. Fieldwork (7 months)

Objectives

Conduct ethnographic field research in person and online in order to address the key issues that arise from practices of surrogate motherhood in contemporary Greece

Description of work

The researchers will create a network of field informants and conduct participant observation with each pair of mothers. They will observe the discussions that take place in low-fertility forums on the internet and contribute to the discussion, when appropriate. They will also collect accounts of life-stories through semi-structured interviews with selected research informants. They will establish cooperation with at least two fertility clinics and observe the medical discourse and the management of surrogate motherhood.

WORK PACKAGE 3. Analysis and Fiction Writing (7 months)

Objectives

Analyse the ethnographic material, proceed to interpretation and write up of ethnographic accounts, and turn the academic text into fiction-writing (inter-related short stories)

Description of work

1. Transcribe selected parts of interviews and analyze data, identifying the research key themes

2. Draft and write short stories

3. Prepare interview excerpts, photos, recordings and other fieldwork material that will accompany the short stories

4. Collect supplementary hypermedia material that further support the research

5. Prepare draft for academic papers

6. Have the short stories translated in English

WORK PACKAGE 4. Feedback – Dissemination (5 months)

Objectives

Online dissemination of research findings and beginning of online discussion upon findings and upon experimental presentation of ethnographic material. Organization of academic conference and completion of academic papers.

Description of work

1. Issue invitation to anthropologists, researchers, writers and surrogates/social mothers to comment on the project online

2. Monitor feedback and themes in online discussion

3. Prepare and host one conference (in Athens)

4. Organize two academic seminars

5. Present papers in international conferences

6. Proceed with publication of academic papers