By Sahra Gibbon

The publication examines the social and cultural context of recent genetic wisdom linked to breast melanoma. It appears at how this information and applied sciences are used and acquired in contrasting social arenas - melanoma genetic clinics and a breast melanoma examine charity.

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Additional info for Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge: Science and Citizenship in the Cultural Context of the ‘New’ Genetics

Example text

Although there was a sense of flippancy about Deborah’s discussion of ‘boob jobs’, like Faye’s of-the-cuff remark, their comments seemed to disguise a deeper set of concerns about the risk of developing breast cancer. The sense of anxiety around breast examination and the ease and readiness with which several women I met discussed prophylactic mastectomy, as a possible option that they might undertake in the future, revealed the extent to which some expressed a sense of detachment and disconnection from their bodies.

Jane drew only the two relatives affected by cancer (her mother and grandmother), herself and her two sisters. It was only much later in the interview that she mentioned in passing that she had four brothers. Even when the depiction of family history seemed to be more balanced, or at least encompass more people, as in Julie’s case, ‘clues’ about possible risk were also visually represented. Lucy’s depiction of her family history was less obviously a narrative about ‘risk’ in the way the others seemed to be.

4 For one person, simply having to fill out the form implied that her family history conferred something of a unique status, otherwise, she said ‘they could be seeing everyone’. In fact many of these women were also aware that, given the finite resources in this and many specialist areas of medical practice in the NHS, it was only on the basis of the information documented on the family history form that they would receive an appointment at the clinic. As such, there seemed to be an effort to represent family history in particular ways that might ‘talk up’ apparent or perceived danger in order that their family history would be seen as deserving attention.

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Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge: Science by Sahra Gibbon
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