Genomics Forum Seminar - (Re)locating the ‘biosocialities’ of breast cancer genetics; a comparative perspective
SpeakersDr Sahra Gibbon, Anthropology Department,University College London and Visiting Research Fellow, Genomics Forum Edinburgh
VenueESRC Genomics Forum
The concept of ‘biosociality’ has gained currency in recent years in the social science as a way of understanding the meeting point between novel genetic technologies or knowledge and questions of identity, sociality or citizenship. At the same time, ethnographically orientated comparative studies have begun to demonstrate the variability and also the ‘gaps’ in the ‘biosocialities’ at stake in specific national and international locales. This has led some to question the descriptive utility of such a concept. It is becoming clear that there are important differences in the space and shape of the ‘biosocialities’ in and between national and trans-national arenas. This differences relate, in part, to the scope (and limits) of technological intervention, the organisation of state health care or research resources, the presence (or absence) of a culture of health care activism and the specific history and character citizenship. Drawing from past and current research in the UK and Cuba this paper presents a comparative perspective on the ‘biosocialities’ of ‘breast cancer genetics’. Focusing on the application and development of genetic knowledge and technology linked to breast cancer, the paper critically examines the continuities and discontinuities between these two national contexts. It shows how this has consequences for theorizing and conceptualizing the meeting point between genomics, identity and citizenship.