Temporal sociomedical approaches to intersex* bodies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The history of the field of intersex bodies/bodies with variations of sex development (VSD) reflects the ongoing tension between sociomedical attempts to control uncertainty and reduce the duration of corporeal uncertainty by means of early diagnosis and treatment, and the embodied subjects who resist or challenge these attempts, which ultimately increase uncertainty. Based on various qualitative studies in the field of intersex, this article describes three temporal sociomedical approaches that have evolved over the last decade and aims to address the uncertainty surrounding intersex/VSD bodies. These approaches are (1) the corrective-concealing approach, which includes early surgeries and hormone therapies intended to “correct” intersex conditions and the deliberate concealment of the ambiguity and uncertainty associated with intersex conditions; (2) the preventive approach, which involves early genetic diagnostic methods aimed at regulating or preventing the recurrence of hereditary conditions under the umbrella of VSD; and (3) the wait-and-see approach, which perceives intersex bodies as natural variations and encourages parents to take time, wait, and give their children the right to bodily autonomy. A comparison of these approaches from biopolitical, phenomenological, and pragmatic perspectives reveals that time is an essential social agent in addressing and controlling uncertainty, a gatekeeper of social norms and social and physical orders, and, on the other hand, a sociopolitical agent that enables creative social change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalHistory and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Corrective approach
  • Intersex
  • Preventive approach
  • Temporality
  • Uncertainty
  • Wait and see approach


Dive into the research topics of 'Temporal sociomedical approaches to intersex* bodies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this