Motivations for seeking experimental treatment in Japan

Kato, Masae and Sleeboom-Faulkner, Margaret (2018) Motivations for seeking experimental treatment in Japan. BioSocieties, 13 (1). pp. 255-275. ISSN 1745-8552

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (329kB)


In this article on innovative medical treatment for serious conditions in Japan we aim to revise two widespread notions: first, that people living with severe conditions are all waiting for a cure or are impatient to try out experimental treatment, in particular regenerative medicine. Showing that motivations for cure seeking are complex and linked to somatic identity, we argue that gaining a cure also means a new social normality, which for some people narrows the only normality that is meaningful to them; and, second, that people living with a serious (latent) condition necessarily define their lives as not normal in the light of normalization. People with a condition conceptualise normal life variously and multiply in the light of both individual and collective experiences. The two revisions are crucial to attempts at understanding what makes people seek experimental medicine. Comparing the narratives of people with four different conditions – spinal cord injury, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Diabetes Mellitus type 1 and cardiovascular disease – it becomes clear that the difference between seeking treatment or not largely depends on somatic identities; rather than through notions of (ab)normality, it is more adequately understood in terms of the experience of somatic lacking and wholeness.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2017 16:23
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 15:18

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update