Gender and Genetics
Sociology of the Prenatal
By Kate Reed
Routledge – 2012 – 198 pages
Series: Genetics and Society
Prenatal screening for genetic disorders is becoming an increasingly widespread phenomenon across the globe. While studies have highlighted the importance of women’s experiences of such screening, little is known about men’s roles and direct involvement in this process. With a focus on the experiences of both women and men, this text offers an innovative and passionate account of the gendered nature of prenatal screening.
Drawing on interview data with pregnant women and their male partners in a UK city, Reed provides a compelling analysis of maternal and paternal roles in prenatal screening. Through this analysis, the book raises important issues around genetics, gender and screening practice. With a focus on the gendered production of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ genes, the book explores differences between visual technologies and blood screening. It also explores the gendered nature of genetic responsibility and the impact this has on parenting roles.
Extending its arguments into other key debates in prenatal genetics – including a focus on the impact of screening on other types of stratification, including ethnicity and class – Reed provides an original and comprehensive analysis of some of the most pressing concerns in the field to date. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of the sociology of health and illness, science and technology studies, gender studies, feminist bioethics and medical anthropology, as well as professionals in the fields of midwifery and genetic counselling.
Introduction. 1. Information Keeping/Seeking 2. Gender, Choice and Time 3. Imaging and Imagining Genetics 4. Men, Masculinity and Decision-Making 5. Gendering ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Genes 6. Family, Friends and Heredity 7. Transforming Social Divisions. Conclusion. Appendix. Bibliography
Kate Reed is a senior lecturer in Medical Sociology at the University of Sheffield. She has published broadly across the areas of ethnicity, gender, social theory and the sociology of health and illness. She is the author of Worlds of Health (Praeger 2003) and New Directions in Social Theory: Race, Gender and the Canon (Sage 2006).