Schizophrenia and the narrative of enlightened geneticization

Hedgecoe, Adam (2001) Schizophrenia and the narrative of enlightened geneticization. Social Studies of Science, 31 (6). pp. 875-911. ISSN 0306-3127

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In this paper I explore the way in which scientists attempt to construct schizophrenia as a genetic disease using various discursive strategies. These strategies involve: referring back to earlier twin and adoption studies on schizophrenia inheritance; constructing genetic models to allow some rôle for single gene versions of the condition; a cautious and responsible limit on the strength of current research; and the construction of a range of bordering conditions which contribute to the genetic risk of schizophrenia. These various rhetorics produce a `narrative' about schizophrenia which subtly prioritizes genetic explanations, while appearing to allow a rôle for non-genetic factors; I term this the `narrative of enlightened geneticization'. This research has implications for scientific controversies, specifically the way in which critics attack schizophrenia genetics, since many of their points are already incorporated into the narrative. It also contributes to the ongoing debate over the rôle of social science research in the study of geneticization.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Based on a chapter of Hedgecoe's PhD thesis, the article offers one of the first empirically-rooted explorations of the `geneticization thesis' (the idea that genetic explanations are becoming more common). It has been cited not just in medical sociology journals, but also general sociological publications (such as the American Sociological Review) and in the medical literature (International Journal Of Epidemiology).
Keywords: complex disease; controversy; discourse analysis; explanation; genomics
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:23
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2012 08:39
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