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Reproductive Sociology Research Group


I am interested in the way institutions (re)produce social stratification based on gender, sex, race, class or nationality, and especially in regard to reproduction and parenting. I have specifically looked at interactions between actors and institutions using qualitative methodologies and inductive research designs. I build on interdisciplinary fields such as reproduction and parenting studies, feminist science studies and gender studies.

My PhD research analysed the social government of pregnancy. Drawing from an ethnographic study of a psychosocial pregnancy care centre in Switzerland, I argued that pregnant women are an object of discipline and surveillance; that we witness the extension of parenting norms into pregnancy, making it the first phase of childhood; that this surveillance is extended from pregnant bodies to pregnant minds under the influence of various fields such as psychology, child development, neuroscience or epigenetic. I also analysed how the overwhelmingly dominant representation of pregnancy as a feminine event invisibilises LGBTQ+ experiences of pregnancy as well as paternal (and environmental) influences on foetal health. I carried out this work as a doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Lausanne (2010-2013, 2015-2017) and as a Swiss National Research Foundation fellow and visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University (USA) in 2013-2015.

At Reprosoc, I am working on a research project on child veganism as a Swiss National Research Foundation fellow and a visiting scholar (2020-2022). I am interested in how “good” and “bad “parenting is defined in reference to social and environmental reproduction. In order to do so, I will analyse medical experts’ discourses on child veganism and conduct interviews with vegan families to understand how they articulate child feeding and the future of humanity and the planet. I am also interested in the interplay of gender, nationality, race and class in the discourses on child veganism.  

These projects build on my earlier research on gender, race and nationality dynamics in social institutions such as religion, medicine and science. Before joining ReproSoc, I have conducted research for the Centre for Gender Studies, University of Lausanne (2019-2020), the School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (2018-2020), the Sociology Laboratory (2010-2018) and the Institute of social sciences of contemporary religions, University of Lausanne (2008-2010). I hold a BA in history of religions, social sciences and history, a MA in sociology of religions and a PhD in social sciences from the University of Lausanne.


Key publications: 



Stolz Jörg, Ballif Edmée. 2011. L’avenir des Réformés. Les Églises face aux changements sociaux. Genève : Labor et Fides.

Stolz Jörg, Ballif Edmée. 2010. Die Zukunft der Reformierten. Megatrends – Auswirkungen – Reaktionen. Zürich : TVZ.


Articles (peer-reviewed)

Ballif Edmée. 2020. « Policing the Maternal Mind: Current Trends in Swiss Pregnancy Politics ». Social Politics : International Studies in Gender, State & Society 27(1) : 74-96.

Ballif Edmée. 2014. « Les Africains, origine et avenir de l’Église catholique suisse ? Réflexions sur les discours des organisateurs du Pèlerinage aux Saintes et Saints d’Afrique à St-Maurice ». 28.


Book chapters (peer-reviewed)

Ballif Edmée. 2019. « La grossesse, une affaire de femmes ? Enjeux de genre dans la prévention de la consommation d’alcool et de tabac auprès des futurs parents ». In : Martin Hélène et Roca i Escoda Marta. Sexuer le corps. Huit études sur des pratiques médicales d'hier et d'aujourd'hui. Lausanne : Editions HETSL, p. 119-136.

Ballif Edmée. 2014. « Entre “trouille folle” et “bulle de bonheur”. Le discours du risque de professionnelles de l’accompagnement des grossesses ». In : Burton-Jeangros Claudine, Hammer Raphaël et Maffi Irene. Accompagner la naissance. Terrains socio-anthropologiques en Suisse romande. Lausanne : BSN Press, p. 115-132.



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