Spitting images:remaking saliva as a promissory substance

Kragh-Furbo, Mette and Tutton, Richard (2017) Spitting images:remaking saliva as a promissory substance. New Genetics and Society, 36 (2). pp. 159-185. ISSN 1463-6778

PDF (author accepted manuscript Spitting Images Kragh-Furbo and Tutton)
author_accepted_manuscript_Spitting_Images_Kragh_Furbo_and_Tutton.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (444kB)


Of the bodily substances in which STS scholars, anthropologists, sociologists, and medical historians have been interested, saliva has arguably been overlooked. Yet, in the past twenty years, saliva has become important to the development of consumer genetic tests. Historically, expectoration has been associated with the spread of disease and social indecency, but when the personal genomics company 23andMe began hosting spit parties in 2007, the act of spitting was transformed into an act of self-empowerment through which the individual gained new health information and saliva turned into a new biological source for measuring health and illness. Attending to saliva’s social meanings over time, and by analysing 23andMe “unboxing” YouTube videos, we argue that saliva has become a promissory substance whose place is no longer reserved only for the inner spaces of the body, but circulates outside the body, forming an important part of the contemporary bioeconomy.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
New Genetics and Society
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Genetics and Society on 09/05/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14636778.2017.1320943
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
10 May 2017 15:04
Last Modified:
11 May 2022 05:21