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Chapter 12

SOC 7108 Chapter 12: SOC 7108 - Chapter 12


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 7108
Professor
Loes Knaapen
Chapter
12

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SOC 7108
CHAPTER 12
GENETIC RISK AND THE BIRTH OF THE SOMATIC INDIVIDUAL
Among the many consequences regarding the advancement of technology regarding the
life sciences has been the mutation of individuals. This is not a simple shift of lay, professional
and scientific ideas but a shift regarding the presuppositions of human beings. In this article we
focus on the following:
The individual who is genetically at risk and are born at the intersection of at least three
trajectories:
1. Many undesirable conditions conditions (physical illness or behavioral pathologies
have a genetic basis such as a mutation or a genetic makeup that a variety of genes
interact with one another as a result of getting a type of cancer.
2. Researcher’s claim the that they have the capacity to characterize the genetic
sequences or markers that are associated with the occurrence of many conditions at the
molecular level such as DNA analysis of tissue samples.
3. Doctors further claim they are able to identify specific individuals with a genetic make-
up linked to a particular conditions prior to its onset through diagnostic testing. They re-
shape the ways in which we are governed and the way in which we govern ourselves.
Re-cataloguing illness and pathologies through a genic matter does not generate
fatalism but creates an obligation to act in the present in relation to the potential futures
that now come into view. In other words, the discourse and practices of genetics here link
up with those that are at risk. While hereditary knowledge have been associated with risk
thinking, predisposition of genetic testing creates a new dimension into genetic risk and
new calculability. Individuals may suffer through various forms of social stigma and
exclusion from opportunities and may be subjected to various forms of surveillance
regarding prevention. However, it is also linked with contemporary practices of identity
operating in a political and ethical field where persons are to change their life strategies in
order to maximize their life chances.
As health becomes a strategic enterprise, the categories of health and illness have
become vehicles for the self-production and exercise regarding choice and will (page 4).
In other words, it also creates a new genetic responsibility in terms of shaping an
individuals life plans.
However, the article suggest that the birth of the person that is at risk has to be
understood in terms of somatic individuality (a dimension of a wider mutation in terms
of personhood, new relations created between the body and the self. There are new
means of genetic language that seek to go beyond experience and reorganizing it in a
new according to who we are further based with the advanced neoliberal society where
ethics of health and illness playa great role regarding its production and organization.
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