Nolwenn Bühler

Nolwenn Bühler.png

SNSF Senior Researcher,
Université de Lausanne

Research Manager,


ORCID 0000-0003-2941-8032


2018-2021 : chargée d'enseignement en études-genre à la MAPS / UniNE

Parcours / Biographie

Nolwenn Bühler is an anthropologist of biomedicine and health with a background in nursing. She has worked as a senior lecturer in gender studies at the University of Neuchâtel from 2018 to 2021. Her teaching included a BA introductory course and a MA thematic course focusing on the constitution, uses, and politics of the category of nature and the diverse ways of engaging with it from a gender perspective. She currently works as a SNSF senior researcher at the University of Lausanne and as a research manager at Unisanté. Her research explores current reconfigurations of public health research, health inequalities, and environment-health relations in the context of three projects: "Development of Personalized Health in Switzerland: Social Sciences Perspectives" (DoPHiS); SociocoViD; and ChemoAgro.

She holds a PhD in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Zurich and is the author of When Reproduction Meets Aging: The Science and Medicine of the Fertility Decline (2021), book based on her doctoral thesis, in which she dealt with the production of knowledge on reproductive ageing and the role assisted reproductive technologies played in it. She also explored the ontological and political effects of the medically assisted extension of fertility in Switzerland. Before joining the University of Neuchâtel, she spent a year as a visiting scholar at the Gender and Women’s Studies Department of the University of California Berkeley, followed by year as a research fellow in the Reproduction Research Group of De Montfort University, Leicester (UK) and a year as a senior research fellow at the Interface sciences-société of the University of Lausanne.

Her research interests focus on science-society relationships, reproductive technologies, gender and kinship, body-environment interactions, and personalized health. In addition, as a member of the Ethical and Deontological Think Tank of the Swiss Anthropological Association, she is interested in the ethics of qualitative research.

Liste des publications

  • Peer Reviewed Articles

    Bühler, Nolwenn (submitted). Caring During COVID-19: Reconfigurations of Gender and Family Relations During the Pandemic in Switzerland. Frontiers in Sociology, Special Issue "Families and COVID-19: an interactive relationship"

    Bühler, Nolwenn. (To be subm. Jan.2021) The “good” of fertility extension: Moral reasoning and time in the governance of reproduction. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, special Issue “Medical Innovations as a Challenge to Human Temporality” (Prof. Marck Schweda & Dr Nitzan Zarfaty)

    Bühler, Nolwenn (forthcoming). The making of ‘old eggs’: the science of reproductive ageing between fertility and anti-ageing technologies. Reproductive BioMedicine & Society Online, Special Issue on Biological Clocks (Prof. Anindita Majumdar)

    Bühler Nolwenn & Cathy Herbrand. 2020. Powering life through MitoTechnologies: Exploring the bio-objectification of mitochondria in reproduction. BioSocieties published online 19.09.2020, DOI 10.1057/s41292-020-00204-6

    Barazzetti, Gaia, Nolwenn Bühler, Marc Audétat & Alain Kaufmann. In press. Making personalized medicine ethical: a critical examination of the new promises of personalized health in Switzerland. Special Issue Science and Public Policy.

    Bühler Nolwenn Bühler. 2019. Commentary: Whose voice matters? Questioning power relations through the lens of feminist ethics. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 14(5): 496-497.

    Hudson, Nicky, Kylie Baldwin, Cathy Herbrand, Nolwenn Bühler & Irenee Daly. 2019. Reproduction research: from complexity to methodological innovations. Methodological Innovations Jan-April: 1-4.

    Bühler Nolwenn, Gaia Barazzetti, and Alain Kaufmann. 2018. Banking on participation: exploring the co-production of population and participation in Swiss biobanking. Tecnoscienza: Italian Journal of Science and Technology 9(2): 109-132

    Perrin, Julie, Nolwenn Bühler, Marc-Antoine Berthod, Jérémie Forney, Sabine Kradolfer, Laurence Ossipow. 2018. Searching for ethics: legal requirements and empirircal issues for anthropology. Tsantsa 23: 138-153.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2017. Procréation médicalement assistée. Anthropen.org. Paris: Éditions des archives contemporaines. Online: https://www.anthropen.org DOI:10.17184/eac.anthropen.043

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2015. Imagining the Future of Motherhood: The Medically Assisted Extension of Fertility and the Production of Genealogical Continuity. Sociologus 65(1): 79-100.

    Bühler Nolwenn & Anika König. 2015. Making Kinship in Switzerland and Beyond: Imaginations and Substances. Sociologus 65(1): 1-10.

    Bühler Nolwenn, Willemijn De Jong, Yv E. Nay, & Kathrin Zehnder. 2015. ‘Ontological Choreography’ as an Ethnographic Tool: Understanding the Making of Normative and Non-normative Families by Reproductive Technologies in Switzerland. Tsantsa 20: 84-96.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2014. Ovules vieillissants, mères sans âge? Infertilité féminine et recours au don d’ovocytes en Suisse. Enfances, Familles, et Générations 21: 24-47. Special issue edited by Cathy Herbrand & Jérôme Courduriès. Online: http://www.efg.inrs.ca/index.php/EFG/issue/view/22

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2012. Un vaccin à l’épreuve des controverses: implantation de la vaccination anti-HPV en Suisse romande. Tsantsa 17: 129-138.

  • Book

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2021. When Reproduction meets Ageing: The Science and Medicine of the Fertility Decline. Emerald Publisher, Series Emerald Studies in Reproduction, Culture and Society

  • Book Chapters

    Bühler, Nolwenn, Melody Pralong, Célia Burnand, Cloé Rawlinson, Semira Gonseth Nusslé, Valérie D’Acremont, Murielle Bochud, and Patrick Bodenmann (2022, submitted). “Flexible Lockdown” in Switzerland: Individual Responsibility and the Daily Navigation of Risk and Protection. In Negotiating the Pandemic: Cultural, National, and Individual Constructions of COVID-19. Editors: Inayat Ali and Robbie Davis-Floyd, Routeledge.

    Bühler, Nolwenn (submitted, under revision). When Time Becomes Biological: The Biomedicalization of Age-Related Infertility Through the Lens of Women’s Experiences of Anticipation and ARTs. In Integrating Reproductive Technologies: propositions for a longitudinal approach in the social study of reproductive technologies. Edited volume, dir. Victoria Boydell & Katie Dow, Emerald Publisher.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2019. Explorer les reconfigurations contemporaines de la parenté et du genre, au miroir de la procréation médicalement assistée. XLIXèmes Journées Nationales de Néonatologie 3 (39): 25-44.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2014. Tracer les frontières de la médecine reproductive entre légalité, responsabilité et légitimité: les médecins face à l’interdiction du don d’ovocytes en Suisse. In: Claudine Burton-Jeangros, Irene Maffi, Raphael Hammer (ed). Accompagner la naissance: terrains socio-anthropologiques en Suisse romande, p.31-56. Lausanne: BSN Press, Serie A Contrario.

  • Edition of Peer Reviewed Special Issues

    Boillet, Véronique, Nolwenn Bühler, Irène-Lucile Hertzog, and Marta Roca i Escoda (eds). 2020. Les économies de la procréation médicalement assistée. NQF 39(2).

    Hudson, Nicky, Baldwin Kylie, Herbrand Cathy, Bühler Nolwenn and Irene Daly (eds). 2019. Special Issue Methods and Reproduction. Methodological Innovations (Jan-Apr).

    Bühler Nolwenn and Anika Konig (eds). 2015. Making Kinship in Switzerland and Beyond: Imagnations and Substances. Sociologus 65(1).

  • Book Reviews

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2020. Review of Ilana Löwy’s books « Imperfect Pregnancies : A History of Birth Defects and Prenatal Diagnosis » and « Tangled Diagnosis : Prenatal Testing, Women, and Risk ».  Gesnerus : Revue d’histoire de la médecine et des sciences naturelles 77.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2012. Review: Erdmute Alber, Bettina Beer, Julia Pauli, Michael Schnegg (eds). 2010. Verwandschaft Heute: Positionen, Ergebnisse und Perspektiven. Tsantsa 17: 204-205.

  • Outreach Articles

    Bühler, Nolwenn & Célia Burnand. 2020. Crise sanitaire: quelle place pour le genre?. Viral (UNIL), online: https://wp.unil.ch/viral/crises-sanitaires-quelle-place-pour-le-genre/ - 02.07.2020

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2016. Event review: Postponing childbirth, extending fertility? Biotechnologies and the transformations of reproductive life. BioNews June, 6 2016. Online: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_656372.asp

    Bühler Nolwenn and Kathrin Zehnder. 2013. Eizellspende und Spermienspende im Vergleich – Zwischenergebnisse aus einem nationalen Forschungsprojekt. Hebamme - Sage-femme 9: 12-14.

  • Reports

    Bühler, Nolwenn & Célia Burnand. 2020. Living the Covid-19 pandemic in Canton de Vaud: an ethnographic exploration of experiences of viral exposure, transmission, and protective practices in household configurations. Volet qualitatif de l’étude SérocoViD (Unisanté, Prof D’Acremont & Bochud).

    Bühler, Nolwenn, Barazzetti Gaia and Alain Kaufmann. 2018. Enquête et débat public autour de la santé personnalisée, rapport 2017. Office du médecin cantonal du canton de Vaud

    Hudson Nicky, Bühler Nolwenn et al. 2016. Wellcome Trust Humanities and Social Sciences Small Award Final Report Postponing childbirth, extending fertility: biotechnologies and the transformations of reproductive life.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2014. Egg Donation and IVF with Donated Eggs: Lessons to be Learned from Other Countries. Social Science Report on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health. Bern: OFSP/BAG. Online: http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/medizin/03878/03882/index.html?lang=de

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2014. Final report of the SNSF doc.mobility project Reproductive Technologies, Biological Clock Discourses and the Extension of Fertility Time: Gender, Kinship, and Biopolitics of Reproductive Aging in Switzerland.

    De Jong Willemijn, Nolwenn Bühler, Yv Nay, Kathrin Zehnder. 2014. Final report of the SNSF project Fertility and Family in Switzerland. Local Processes» of Reproduction and Kinship in Transnational Contexts of Biomedical Technologies.

  • Academic Theses

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2016. The Frontiers of Age: ARTs and the Extension of Fertility Time in Switzerland and Beyond. PhD Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Zurich.

    Bühler Nolwenn. 2010. Le vaccin anti-HPV, “un bon outil pour la tâche”? Etude de l’implantation de la vaccination préventive du cancer du col de l’utérus dans le Canton de Vaud. MA Thesis. Online: http://doc.rero.ch/record/19844?ln=fr

  • Conference Papers (2019-)

    Vulnerabilities in the making : exploring experiences of the pandemic and reconfigurations of living conditions. 5th STS-CH meeting, 15-17 Feb. 2021

    Objectifying the participant? Data production in the clinical research center. 5th STS-CH meeting, 15-17 Feb. 2021

    Interroger la fabrique des vulnérabilités: expériences situées de la pandémie de Covid-19 et inégalités face aux mesures de protection dans le Canton de Vaud. AISLF, colloque Pandémie, pauvreté, politique sociale et intervention, HETS, Lausanne – 11-12 Feb.2021

    Opening the black box of “participation”: preliminary results from an anthropological study of a public health cohort, Swiss Public Health Conference, Luzern, 2-3 Sept. 2020

    Who’s the “patient” of personalized health? Insight from a Swiss precision public health cohort, EASST/4S joint conference, Prague, August 18-21-2020

    La maternité, un travail qui a coût? Eclairage des études genre, Journée d’étude « Concilier travail et maternité : quels enjeux pour les femmes, les entreprises et la société ? » HESAV, Feb. 7 2020.

    Reproductive ageing, a matter of time? Thinking ARTs through biotemporalities, Brocher Foundation Workshop “Integrating reproductive technologies: Propositions for a longitudinal approach in the social study of reproductive technologies”, Organized by Katie Dow & Victoria Boydell, Brocher Nov. 13-15, 2019.

    From numbers to tissues in human biomonitoring: remodeling classical epidemiology in Switzerland, 4S Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Sept. 4-7 2019.

    The body as biosocial laboratory. With L. Chiapperino & F. Panese. 4S Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Sept. 4-7 2019

    Assisting fertility extension? The age limits of motherhood between nature, medicine, and society, International Workshop Bioethics and Temporality: Perspectives from the beginning, middle and end of life, Oldenburg, May 27-28 2019.

    Explorer les reconfigurations contemporaines de la parenté et du genre au miroir de la procréation médicalement assistée, Journées Nationales de Néonatologie, Paris, March 28 2019.

Recherches en cours

Permeable Bodies: an Anthropological Study of Environmental Public Health Research in the Era of “Personalization” in Switzerland


Exploring Knowledge, Practices and Meanings of Exposure in the Development of a Swiss Based “Precision Public Health” Study


Daily Life Experiences of Covid-19: An Ethnographic Exploration of Viral Exposure, Protective Practices, and the Making of Vulnerabilities Through the Lens of Living Conditions in Canton de Vaud, SNSF, PNR78 (2020-2022)