Rhonda Shaw

AProf Rhonda Shaw profile picture

Associate Professor School of Social and Cultural Studies


Teaching in 2020


MA (Hons), PhD, Dip. Prof. Ethics Auck

Research specialties

Sociology of morality and ethics; bioethics; embodiment; organ donation and transplantation; assisted human reproduction; breast milk exchange; families and relationships.

Current research

Rhonda is currently involved in two research projects on assisted human reproduction. Rhonda is a Principal Investigator with Sharyn Graham Davies and Associate Investigator Elizabeth Kerekere on ‘Accessing Assisted Reproduction: Social Infertility and Family Formation’ (2019 – 2022). The study, supported by a Marsden-fund grant of $816,000, uses critical comparative ethnography to explore the experiences of people who are denied or encounter difficulties accessing assisted reproductive technologies in Aotearoa New Zealand. The project examines how these individuals create families in the context of globalised reproduction, and how they negotiate and manage their relationships with providers of reproductive materials and services in the process of family building. The aim of the study is to formulate new ways of theorising kinship and family life that will promote wider acceptance of new forms of family.

The second study, ‘Expert views of Assisted Reproduction’, involves qualitative research with experts based in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (academics, policy makers, lawyers, consumer groups, fertility clinic specialists, counsellors, and healthcare professionals) about their involvement with fertility treatment and their views on a range of reproductive technologies. Both studies build on work Rhonda began in 2002 addressing social, cultural and ethical issues on embodiment, identity, and cell, tissue, and organ exchange.

Current Teaching

In 2020, Rhonda will coordinate SACS 202 and SACS 428 and lecture in SOSC 111, SOSC 102, and SOSC 301.

Selected publications


Shaw, Rhonda M. (Ed.) (2017) Bioethics Beyond Altruism: Donating and Transforming Human Biological Materials. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2015) Ethics, Moral Life and the Body: Sociological Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Shaw, Rhonda M. & A. Bartlett (Eds) (2010) Giving Breastmilk: Body Ethics and Contemporary Breastfeeding Practice. Bradford: Demeter Press.

Journal articles

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2020). Should surrogate pregnancy arrangements be enforceable in Aotearoa New Zealand?. Policy Quarterly, 16(1), 18-25.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2019). Altruism, solidarity and affect in live kidney donation and breastmilk sharing. Sociology of Health & Illness, 41(3), 553-566. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12805

Shaw, Rhonda M., Howe, J., Beazer, J., & Carr, T. (2019). Ethics and positionality in qualitative research with vulnerable and marginal groups. Qualitative Research. doi:10.1177/1468794119841839

La, J., Jackson, S., & Shaw, Rhonda M. (2019). ‘Flat and fabulous’: women’s breast reconstruction refusals post-mastectomy and the negotiation of normative femininity. Journal of Gender Studies, 14 pages. doi:10.1080/09589236.2019.1601547

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2015). New Zealanders' experiences of organ donation and transplantation. New Zealand Sociology, 30(4), 210-228.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2015) ‘Rethinking the conceptual toolkit of organ gifting’, New Zealand Medical Journal, 128(1422): 63-68

Yates, D., Shaw, Rhonda M., Parker, G., Van Zyl, L. and R. Walker (2015) ‘Feminist dialogue: proposed changes to the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act’, Women’s Studies Journal, 29(1): 34-55.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2015) ‘Rethinking elements of informed consent for living kidney donation: Findings from a New Zealand study’, Health Sociology Review, 24(1): 109-122.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2015) ‘Expanding the conceptual toolkit of organ gifting’, Sociology of Health & Illness, 37(6): 952-966.

Shaw, Rhonda M. & Webb, R. (2015) ‘Multiple meanings of “Gift” and its value for organ donation’, Qualitative Health Research, 25(5): 600-611.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2015) ‘Being-in-dialysis: The experience of the machine-body for home dialysis users’. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness & Medicine, 19(3): 229-244.

Shaw, Rhonda M. & Bell, L.J. (2014) Because you can’t live on love”: living kidney donors’ perspectives on compensation and payment for donation. Health Expectations. Published online 24 November 2014. DOI: 10.1111/hex.12310

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2014) ‘Live kidney donation as body work’, Critical Social Policy, 34(4): 495-514.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2012) ‘Thanking and reciprocating under the New Zealand organ donation system’, Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness & Medicine, 16(3): 295-310.

Shaw, Rhonda M., Bell, L. & Webb R. (2012) ‘New Zealanders’ perceptions of gift and giving back in organ transfer procedures’, Kotuitui, 7(1): 26-36.

Webb, R. and Shaw, Rhonda M. (2011) ‘Whanau, whakapapa and identity in experiences of organ donation and transplantation’, Sites: a journal of social anthropology & cultural studies, 8(1): 40-58.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2011) The ethical risks of curtailing emotion in social science research: The case of organ transfer, Health Sociology Review, 20(1), pp. 59-70.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2011). Editorial: Perspectives on organ transfer and bio-identity. Sites: a journal of social anthropology and cultural studies, 8(1), 1-11

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2011). Organ Transplantation: What Donors and Recipients Really Think. Marsden Fund News.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2010) Organ donation in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Cultural phenomenology and moral humility, Body & Society, 16(3), pp. 127-147.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2010) Deliberating and doing ethics in body gifting practices, Current Sociology, 58(3), pp. 443-462.

Shaw, Rhonda M. and Donovan, S. (2010) 'Phenomenological sociology and the sociology of bioethics: Two New Zealand Studies', Women's Studies Journal, 24(2), pp. 40-53.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2010) Perceptions of the gift relationship: Views of Intensivists and Donor and Recipient Coordinators, Social Science & Medicine, 70(4), pp. 609-615.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2008) The notion of the gift in the donation of body tissues, Sociological Research Online, 13(6).

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2008). The ethics of the gift: a study of technology, embodiment and generosity. New Zealand Science Review, 65(1), 15-16

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2008). 'Rethinking reproductive gifts as body projects', Sociology, 42(1), pp. 11-28.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2007). 'Cross nursing, ethics, and giving breast milk in the contemporary context', Women's Studies International Forum 30(5), pp. 439-450.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2007). 'The gift-exchange and reciprocity of women in donor-assisted conception', The Sociological Review, 55(2), pp. 293-310.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2006). 'Life in a petri-dish: Procreative liberty, choice, and the governance of women's bodies', Hecate, 32(2), pp. 141-154.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2006). 'Border crossing between sociology and bioethics', New Zealand Sociology, 21(2), pp. 173-195.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2006). 'Contemporary meanings of cross-nursing', Breastfeeding Communique, 16, pp. 12-14.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2006). Cross-nursing among New Zealand women. Women's Studies Association Newsletter (NZ), 26(3), 14-15.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2004). 'Performing Breastfeeding: Embodiment, Ethics and the Maternal Subject', Feminist Review, 78(1), pp. 99-116.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2004). 'The Virtues of Cross-Nursing and the Yuk Factor', Australian Feminist Studies: Special Issue on Cultures of Breastfeeding 19(45), pp. 287-299.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2004). 'Lactating, Feminists, & Breastfeeding Advocacy: Some Complexities', New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, 30, pp. 16-20.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2004). 'Anecdotal theory, morality and inappropriate breastfeeding', Journal of The Association for Research on Mothering, 6(1), pp. 124-134.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2004). '"Insufficient Attention": Making Sense of the Sociology and Ethics Debate', New Zealand Sociology, 19(1), pp. 77-101.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2003). 'Theorizing Breastfeeding: Body Ethics, Maternal Generosity and the Gift Relation', Body & Society, 9(2), pp. 55-73.

Shaw, Rhonda M. and Sullivan, M. (2003). 'Towards Disability Ethics: A Social Science Perspective', New Zealand Bioethics Journal, 4(2), pp. 7-14.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2003). 'Our Bodies Ourselves, Technology and Questions of Ethics: Cyberfeminism and the Lived Body', Australian Feminist Studies, 18(40), pp. 45-55.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2002). 'The ethics of the birth plan in childbirth management practices', Feminist Theory: An International Interdisciplinary Journal, 3(2), pp. 131-149.

Book Chapters

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2019). Organ Transplantation and DCD: A Compelling Obligation?. In R. McManus, J. Cornwall, & S. Raudon (Eds.), Death Down Under: Twenty-first Century Dying, Death, Disposal and Memorialisation in the Antipodes (pp. 135-147). UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2018) Being-in-dialysis: The Experience of the Machine-Body for Home Dialysis Users. In Peter Conrad and Valerie Leiter (Eds), The Sociology of Health & Illness: Critical Perspectives (10th edition) (pp. 253-265). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (updated 29 January, 2018) 'Infertiity and childlessness', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/infertility-and-childlessness

Shaw, Rhonda M., & Morgan, M. (2017). Bio-intimate economies of breastmilk exchange: Peer-milk sharing and donor breastmilk in the NICU. In R. Shaw (Ed.), Bioethics Beyond Altruism: Donating and Transforming Human Biological Materials (pp. 319-342). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Shaw, Rhonda M.. (2017). Bioethics Beyond Altruism. In R. Shaw (Ed.), Bioethics Beyond Altruism: Donating and Transforming Human Biological Materials (pp. 3-31). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Shaw, Rhonda M.. (2016). Donation: Organs. In H. ten Have (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics (pp. 1-9). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09483-0_152

Shaw, Rhonda M.. (2016) Distance and closeness in Grey Zones. In S. Lundin, C. Krolokke, M. N. Petersen and E. Muller (Eds) Global Bodies in Grey Zones: Health, Hope and Biotechnology. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA

Shaw, Rhonda M.. (2013). ‘Relating: families’, in Matthewman, S., West-Newman, C.L., and B. Curtis (Eds) Being Sociological. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 175-194.

Shaw, Rhonda M.. (2010) Perspectives on ethics and human milk banking. In Shaw, R. and A. Bartlett (Eds) Giving Breast Milk. Toronto: Demeter Press, pp. 83-97.

McBride-Henry, K. and Rhonda M. Shaw (2010) Giving Breastmilk as Being-with. In Shaw, R. and A. Bartlett (Eds) Giving Breastmilk. Toronto: Demeter Press, pp.191-204.

Bartlett, A. and Rhonda M. Shaw (2010) Mapping the ethics and politics of contemporary breast milk exchange: An Introduction. In Shaw, R. and A. Bartlett (Eds) Giving Breastmilk. Toronto: Demeter Press, pp. 1-8.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2008). 'Permutations of assisted reproduction and the cyborg trope', In M. Porter & J. Kelso (Eds.). Theorising and Representing Maternal Realities. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, pp. 1-20.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2007). 'Relating: Family'. In S. Matthewman, C.L. West-Newman & B. Curtis (Eds.).Being Sociological. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 377-397.

Shaw, Rhonda M. (2005). Connecting: doing family differently. In C. West-Newman, S. Matthewman, & B. Curtis (Eds.), Sociological ways of seeing (pp. 1-12). University of Auckland: Sociology Department Working Papers


  • Royal Society NZ Marsden Fund Grant (2019 – 2022): Accessing Assisted Reproduction: Social Infertility and Family Formation
  • Fulbright New Zealand Travel Award (2010)
  • Kidney Health New Zealand Grant (2010)
  • SPEaR, Social Science Capability Award (2009)
  • Marsden Fast-Start Grant (2008-2010)
  • VUW New Researchers' Achievement Award (2004)
  • FoRST New Zealand Science & Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship (2002-2004)


Teaching in 2020