Regulating reprogenetics: strategic sacralisation and semantic massage
Health Care Analysis: An International Journal of Health Philosophy and Policy 2007 December; 15(4): 305-319
This paper forms part of the feminist critique of the regulatory consequences of biomedicine's systematic exclusion of the role of women's bodies in the development of reprogenetic technologies. I suggest that strategic use of notions of the sacred to decontextualise and delimit disagreement fosters this marginalisation. Here conceptions of the sacred and sacralisation afford a means by which pragmatic consensus over regulation may be achieved, through the deployment of a bricolage of dense images associated with cultural loyalties to solidify support or exclude contradictory elements. Hence an explicit renegotiation of the symbolic order structuring salient debates is necessary to disrupt and enrich the entrenched and exclusionary dominant discourse over reprogenetic regulation. I draw upon previous analyses of strategic rhetoric associated with the regulation of infertility treatment and embryo research in the United Kingdom, the cultural anthropology of biomedicine and feminist ethnographies of reprogenetics to illustrate these claims.
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