Discriminate Biopower and Everyday Biopolitics: Views on Sickle Cell Testing in Dakar
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CitationFullwiley, Duana. 2004. Discriminate biopower and everyday biopolitics: views on sickle cell testing in Dakar. Medical Anthropology 23(2): 157–194.
AbstractMany physicians in Senegal and France, where most Senegalese sickle cell specialists are partially trained, assume that genetic testing that could imply selective abortion for people with sickle cell would run counter to the religious and cultural ethics of people living in Dakar. Senegalese affected by this genetic disease, however, often cite ‘‘traditional’’ rationales to indicate why such testing, if offered, might appeal to them. The reluctance of medical practitioners to entertain such testing technologies for their patients evinces a protectionist attitude toward care—an attitude that emerges within a context in which family planning and a blind concentration on HIV=AIDS have created a public health system that completely overlooks sickle cell anemia. This discriminate biopower leaves everyday biopolitics largely in the hands of families faced with this disease. It falls to them to pragmatically calculate the value that genetic testing may, or may not, hold for their own lives.
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