The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa

The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa

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by Duana Fullwiley
     
 

"Duana Fullwiley has produced a richly textured ethnography of what it means to study the way medical science approaches a disease across broad cultural landscapes. In so doing, she has built a bridge across C. P. Snow's 'two cultures.'"—Troy Duster, author of Backdoor to Eugenics

"In this meticulously crafted ethnography, Fullwiley exposes the

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Overview

"Duana Fullwiley has produced a richly textured ethnography of what it means to study the way medical science approaches a disease across broad cultural landscapes. In so doing, she has built a bridge across C. P. Snow's 'two cultures.'"—Troy Duster, author of Backdoor to Eugenics

"In this meticulously crafted ethnography, Fullwiley exposes the tragic human consequences of a belief in a 'mild form' of sickle cell anemia thought to affect Senegalese. International donors, scientists, and local peoples alike adhere to this belief, fueled by cultural strategies of coping in an environment of shocking medical lack. This first book-length ethnography about genetic disease in Africa, a must-read for social scientists and health care professionals, demonstrates irrevocably how tangled power relations and biogenetic difference inform embodiment and subjectivity."—Margaret Lock, coauthor of An Anthropology of Biomedicine

"An important contribution to the social studies of science and critical medical anthropology, The Enculturated Gene offers an insightful perspective on and a sensitive understanding of the experiences and dilemmas of patients, doctors, and scientists dealing with sickle cell anemia in West Africa."—Didier Fassin, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton

"Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, The Enculturated Gene admirably demonstrates how sickle cell disease forms new associations in and between the domains of biomedicine, biopolitics, and the everyday lives of sufferers. Fullwiley demonstrates that universalistic, biomedical concepts of disease have only limited value in understanding embodied, situated disease."—Stefan Beck, Humboldt University of Berlin

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691123172
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/27/2011
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xxv

Chapter One: Introduction: The Powers of Association 1

Chapter Two: Healthy Sicklers with "Mild" Disease: Local Illness Aff ects and Population- Level Eff ects 45

Chapter Three: The Biosocial Politics of Plants and People 77

Chapter Four: Attitudes of Care 119

Chapter Five: Localized Biologies: Mapping Race and Sickle Cell Difference in French West Africa 158

Chapter Six: Ordering Illness: Heterozygous "Trait" Suff ering in the Land of the Mild Disease 197

Chapter Seven: The Work of Patient Advocacy 221

Conclusion: Economic and Health Futures amid Hope and Despair 250

Notes 275

References 307

Index 329

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