The Biopolitics of Breast Cancer: Changing Cultures of Disease and Activism

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In , the Section gave this award as the Best Study of Award. Cambridge University Press. Tamara Kay and R. Oxford University Press. Princeton University Press. Rutgers University Press. University of Chicago Press. University Of Minnesota Press. Pennsylvania State University Press. University of California Press. Harvard University Press. Aldine Transaction. Transaction Publishers. This award was established in Tenenbaum and Davidman ; Nelson a. Though not directly focused on health or disease risk, this form of direct-to-consumer genetic testing may be understood as a form of optimisation — individuals seeking a better life through enhanced knowledge of themselves and their kin.

However, the same markers used to discern race, ethnicity and biogeographical ancestry also may be used in medical settings to determine risk in the future. Yet users of genetic genealogy testing may find the practice personally meaningful. They are strategic and adept in their negotiation of the genetic information provided, aligning it with other sources of genealogical information Rotimi ; Nelson a.

Biosociality indeed! Behavioural genetics focuses on how genes may influence the behaviour of an organism. Increasingly, however, behavioural geneticists turn to molecular genetic techniques to search for genes underlying the heritability of specific behaviours and to identify their mechanisms Press et al. Behavioural geneticists claim a vast jurisdiction: intelligence Craig and Plomin , sexual orientation Hamer et al.

The field is marked by persistent controversy Fujimura et al. Biomedicalisation and behavioural genetics are intertwined at several critical sites. As the social and health sciences extend their foci from the definition and control of illness to identification of intermediary phenotypes e. This has profound implications for the stigmatisation of persons with traits, markers for traits, or relatives who are affected Phelan Behavioural genetics traditionally focused on within -group differences.


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Another goal of behavioural genetics is the identification of molecular targets for pharmaceuticals to prevent and treat illness Petryna et al. This research agenda promotes medicalisation and biomedicalisation of a wide array of human behaviours and identities in the name of health. In sum, the creation of new genetic categories of identity, whether based on disease risks, geographic ancestry or predispositions to specific behaviours, provides the basis for novel categories of personhood Wailoo ; Wailoo and Pemberton ; Dumit Such identities may be imposed upon individuals through medicalisation and biomedicalisation.

Biomedicalisation is one key set of processes through which such changes are enacted — transforming bodies, identities and lives through technoscientific interventions focused not only on amelioration and cure, but also on optimisation and enhancement. The new genetics and genomics offer powerful biomedicalising techniques manifesting the shift from the clinical to the molecular gaze Rose At this moment, genetic and genomic interventions are still largely in the realm of potentialities Conrad But this situation is changing rapidly.

If not yet gene therapies, biomarkers are important new developments for the assessment of susceptibility identities, prevention of disease and the promotion of well-being. The anticipations and demands of technoscientific possibilities intervene in how we think of our identities, bodies and lives — individually and collectively — and long before they can be implemented Adams et al.

The conditions of possibility opened up by genetic biomedicalisation allow — indeed promote — the imagination of possible new lives through the molecular gaze. Moreover, the plethora of possible genetic futures also engenders resistances and counter-movements to biomedical e. Contingency is rife, negotiations are ongoing. Biomedicalisation theory is useful for understanding the myriad ways that genetics and its social and organisational infrastructures and cultural imaginaries are co-constitutive of the genomics revolution — constraining yet also transforming, enabling and enhancing it.

Biomedicalisation thus serves as useful a framework for the chapters that follow. We focus on what today is best termed biomedicine. On the problematics of such definitions, see Clarke b. On biocapital, see Thompson , Rajan and Novas , We have tried to distinguish genetics genes, their function, roles, testing for, etc.

However, such distinctions can be challenging and the terms are often used interchangeably, if wrongly so. Strauss and Goffman pioneered the study of negotiated and stigmatised identities. The advocacy group Cure Autism Now initiated and funded the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange AGRE , a DNA repository and family registry, housing a database of genotypic and phenotypic information of over families available to eligible autism researchers worldwide.

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Stakeholder representations Introduction Genomic platforms and hybri State, markets and networks We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Free trial voucher code. Invalid Search. Enter keywords, authors, DOI etc. Search History. Search history from this session 0. Metrics Views 1. Biomedicalising genetic health, diseases and identities Authored by: Adele E. Biomedicalisation theory: the new genetics and identities At its most basic, biomedicalisation is about technoscientific transformations of health, illness and identities.

Biopolitics of Breast Cancer: Changing Cultures of Disease and Activism

The implication is that when risk is knowable then it must be known, and when it is believed to be mutable, it must be changed. Rabinow : —2 Today, patient-founded and -led organisations are becoming increasingly central in advocating, funding, adjudicating and directing and carrying out their own research, shaping conditions of possibility around their own diseases and, in turn, their identities and subjectivities Epstein b.

Genetics and human behaviours Behavioural genetics focuses on how genes may influence the behaviour of an organism. Abu El-Haj, N. Adams, V.

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Activism « Breast Cancer Consortium - Archives

Lock, Margaret , Freeman, J. McKusick, V. Mamo, L. Martin, A. Martin, L. Montoya, M. Nash, C. Nelis, A. Nelkin, D. Nelson, A. Koenig , S. Lee and S. Richardson eds Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. Novas, C. Rose ed. Nukaga, Y. Ossorio, P. Parens, E. Parthasarathy, S. Pauling, L.

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