Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices
Transnational Perspectives in the Time of BRCA
Edited by Sahra Gibbon, Galen Joseph, Jessica Mozersky, Andrea zur Nieden, Sonja Palfner
Routledge – 2014 – 248 pages
Series: Genetics and Society
The discovery of the two inherited susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the mid-1990s created the possibility of predictive genetic testing and led to the establishment of specific medical programmes for those at high risk of developing breast cancer in the UK, US and Europe. In the intervening fifteen years, the medical institutionalisation of these knowledge-practices and accompanying medical techniques for assessing and managing risk have advanced at a rapid pace across multiple national and transnational arenas, whilst also themselves constituting a highly mobile and shifting terrain.
This unique edited collection brings together cross-disciplinary social science research to present a broad global comparative understanding of the implications of BRCA gene research and medical practices. With a focus on time-economies that unfold locally, nationally and transnationally (including in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, the UK and the USA), the essays in this volume facilitate a re-reading of concepts such as prevention, kinship and heredity, and together offer a unique, timely and comparative perspective on these developments.
The book provides a coherent structure for examining the diversity of practices and discourses that surround developments linked to BRCA genetics, and to the evolving field of genetics more broadly. It will be of interest to students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, history of science, STS, public health and bioethics.
Foreword by Rayna Rapp Introduction by Sahra Gibbon, Galen Joseph, Jessica Mozersky, Andrea zur Nieden, Sonja Palfner Section I: Practices of Population, Politics and History in the Production of BRCA 1. The Presence of the Past: BRCA ‘Ashkenazi Mutations’ and Transnational Differences in Categories of ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’: The German Case by Andrea zur Nieden 2. Mapping Jewish Identities: Migratory Histories and the Transnational Re-Framing of the ‘Ashkenazi BRCA Mutations’ in the UK and Brazil by Jessica Mozersky and Sahra Gibbon 3. Genetics to the People: BRCA as Public Health and the Dissemination of Cancer Risk Knowledge by Galen Joseph Middleword I:Historicizing Biomedicine – Toward a History of the Present of BRCA by Martina Schlünder Section II: Risk, Personhood and Subjectivity 4. Situating Breast Cancer Risk in Urban India: Gender, Temporality and Social Change by Alison Macdonald 5. Gender Trouble? Queering the Medical Normativity of BRCA Femininities by Britte Pelters 6. It Takes a Particular World to Produce and Enact BRCA Testing: The US had It, Italy had Another by Deborah R. Gordon Middleword II:Pushing the boundaries by Nina Hallowell Section III: Shifting Terrains of BRCA Knowledge and Practices 7. "Empowerment" and the Rendering of Biocapital in Direct-to-Consumer Personal Genomics by Sandra Soo-Jin Lee 8. The BRCA Patent Controversies: An International Review of Patent Disputes by Esther van Zimmeren, Dianne Nicol, E. Richard Gold, Julia Carbone, Subhashini Chandrasekharan, A. Lane Baldwin, Robert Cook-Deegan 9. From BRCA to BRCAness: Tales of translational research by Pascale Bourret, Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio 10. BRCA Interrupted: Reproductive Technologies and the Reiteration-Reformulation of Cancer Legacies by Lisa Rubin and Inmaculada de Melo-Martín. Afterword: Studying BRCA performativity. Re-calibrations by and of the social sciences by Susanne Bauer
Sahra Gibbon is a Lecturer in the Anthropology Department at University College London, UK.
Galen Joseph is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
Jessica Mozersky is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research in New York City.
Andrea zur Nieden is a sociologist and a Research Assistant at the Institute for the History of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.
Sonja Palfner is a social scientist contributing to the field of science and technology studies.