Sequencing and its consequences: Path dependence and the relationships between genetics and medicalization

Sara Shostak, Peter Conrad, Allan V. Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both advocacy for and critiques of the Human Genome Project assume a self-sustaining relationship between genetics and. medicalization. However, this assumption ignores the ways in which the meanings of genetic research are conditional on its position in sequences of events. Based, on analyses of three conditions for which at least one putative gene or genetic marker has been identified, this article argues that critical junctures in the institutional stabilization of phenotypes and the mechanisms that sustain such classifications over time configure the practices and meanings of genetic research. Path dependence is critical to understanding the lack of consistent fit between genetics and medlcalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S287-S316
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Volume114
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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