Blame it on her genes:on performativity, politics, and the consumption of prevention

Cheded, Mohammed (2018) Blame it on her genes:on performativity, politics, and the consumption of prevention. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis examines the politics of performativity and its effects in everyday life. The context of the study is the practices surrounding the consumption of preventive solutions for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, and a specific set of genes, the BRCA genes, which are associated with an increased risk of developing the disease over a lifetime. By integrating concepts developed within the sociology of health and illness with those that are informing the area of market studies, this thesis looks across a range of market actors with a particular emphasis upon the positioning of the individual as a consumer of prevention in the era of genetic citizenship. Combining three key concepts from Discursive Psychology, this thesis addresses the effects of performativity by scrutinising how morality is actually indexed by market actors in everyday speech. By treating text and talk as a form of action, the analytical framework focuses on how subject positions are located in interaction with the ‘other’, as well as wider ideological domains. This proves helpful to bridge between the situated and the broader cultural/historical contexts. Through the analysis of naturalistic data, which provides rich and detailed accounts of interactions, this thesis moves beyond the elaboration of thick descriptions to engage with the politics behind performatives. A particular scrutiny is put on the set of practices, rights and duties that constitute the basis for a genetic/biosocial membership. Under this understanding, the practice of consumption of prevention becomes constitutive of the at-genetic risk subjectivity, and not only an outcome of a diagnosis. The enquiry examines the intertwinement between these practices and the mainstreaming of biomedical rationalities, as well as the different modes of responsibility. By studying the politics of performativity, this thesis presents insights on the synergies and tensions between the different modes of responsibility.

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Thesis (PhD)
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18 Dec 2018 11:00
Last Modified:
25 Feb 2022 00:37