How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?


Rebecca DimondJacqueline Hughes

Geneticization describes the extension and significance of genetic explanations within medical and social discourse (Lippman, 1991). The concept is associated with the rise of the ‘new genetics’: ‘the body of knowledge and techniques arising since the invention of recombinant DNA technology in 1973’ (Cunningham-Burley and Boulton, 2000: 174). Geneticization refers to the process by which disorders and behaviours deemed ‘problematic’ are increasingly described as genetically determined. The consequence of this genetic essentialism is that research agendas, public policies and resources become oriented towards biological rather than social tenets. From a critical sociological perspective, such discourses are themselves problematic ...

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