1st Edition

Biosocialities, Genetics and the Social Sciences Making Biologies and Identities

Edited By Sahra Gibbon, Carlos Novas Copyright 2008
    208 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Biosocialities, Genetics and the Social Sciences explores the social, cultural and economic transformations that result from innovations in genomic knowledge and technology.

    This pioneering collection uses Paul Rabinow’s concept of biosociality to chart the shifts in social relations and ideas about nature, biology and identity brought about by developments in biomedicine. Based on new empirical research, it contains chapters on genomic research into embryonic stem cell therapy, breast cancer, autism, Parkinson’s and IVF treatment, as well as on the expectations and education surrounding genomic research.

    It covers four main themes:

    • novel modes of identity and identification, such as genetic citizenship
    • the role of institutions, ranging from disease advocacy organizations and voluntary organizations to the state
    • the production of biological knowledge, novel life-forms, and technologies
    • the generation of wealth and commercial interests in biology.

    Including an afterword by Paul Rabinow and case studies on the UK, US, Canada, Germany, India and Israel, this book is key reading for students and researchers of the new genetics and the social sciences – particularly medical sociologists, medical anthropologists and those involved with science and technology studies.

    Introduction: Biosocialities, Genetics and the Social Sciences  1. Charity, Breast Cancer Activism and the Iconic figure of the BRCA Carrier  2. Brains, Pedigrees, and Promises: Lessons from the Politics of Autism Genetics  3. Biosociality and Susceptibility Genes: A Cautionary Tale  4. Biology, Sociality and Reproductive Modernity in Ecuadorian In-Vitro Fertilization: The Particulars of Place  5. Biosociality and Biocrossings: Encounters with Assisted Conception and Embryonic Stem Cells in India  6. Synecdochic Ricochets: Biosocialities in a Jerusalem IVF clinic  7. Patients, Profits and Values: Myozyme as an Exemplar of Biosociality  8. Biocapital as an Emergent Form of Life: Speculations on the Figure of the Experimental Subject.  Afterword: Concept Work 


    Sahra Gibbon is currently undertaking a Wellcome Trust fellowship at University College London. Her research, which is focused on the creation of large scale genetic resources such as genetic databases, looks at how different kinds of publics are being recruited into genetic research in the UK and Cuba.

    Carlos Novas is a Wellcome Trust funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the BIOS Centre, London School of Economics. His is currently working on a 3 year project titled: "The Political Economy of Hope: Private Enterprise, Patients’ Groups and the Production of Values in the Contemporary Life Sciences. This project examines how advances in the life sciences have fostered the hope that cures or treatments for many hereditary illnesses will be developed in the near future.