chapter  2
16 Pages

COMMUNITY, THE COMMONS AND COMMERCE: THE OWNERSHIP OF BRCA GENES AND GENETIC TESTING

WithSahra Gibbon

This chapter examines the way moral claims to community, and rights to and responsibilities for the ‘commons’ (Strathern 2004), were negotiated and contested in relation to the prospect of commercial genetic testing in the UK. It contributes to recent work in anthropology and sociology which has begun to make ethics an ‘object’ of inquiry (Massé 2000). In the context of recent developments in genetics, this research has focused on how different kinds of social relations, and their attendant moralities, are being deployed to reproduce and sustain new knowledges and technologies (Franklin 2001, Høyer 2002, Hayden 2003a, 2003b, Rabinow 1999). As Rose and Novas point out, social scientists need to examine the new ‘ethical technologies being assembled’ in the domain of genetics (2004) and their ‘world building affects’ (Franklin 2001).