Biological citizenship in relation to medical counseling and medical genetics

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Our presentation builds on a research project on the emergence of medical genetics and genetic counselling in Sweden 1940-1980. During our study, we have been able to track some aspects of biological, or eugenic, citizenship throughout this period.
In Sweden, a rudimentary form of genetic counselling can be tracked within the context of state-controlled eugenics, namely in some applications of the 1941 Sterilization Act. From traces of this activity, it is evident that a form of biological/eugenic citizenship existed at this time, as an individual response to the Swedish eugenic program. Other forms of genetic counselling took place within the Department of Medical genetics (former Institute for Race Biology) in Uppsala during the 1950s. Geneticists trained at the Department, contributed to the spreading of medical genetics and genetic counselling from an academic setting to the clinic, as they launched and established clinical genetics departments within the Swedish health care system across the country in the 1970s. This generation of geneticists clearly
argued for individual reproductive autonomy, and against the state-controlled eugenics of the past. However, when the diagnostic method of amniocentesis was introduced in Swedish health care, the prospects of this technology seems to have revived some eugenic ideas among geneticists. These ideas were present in discussions of the socio-economic outcomes of prenatal diagnosis and genetic counselling. The new technology also affected individual women and families, adding new facets to the development of biological/eugenic citizenship, individual autonomy and reproductive responsibility of the time.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Ideas
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventThe Body Politic: States in the History of Medicine and Health: European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, Biennial Conference - Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania
Duration: 2017 Aug 302017 Sep 2
http://eahmhconference2017.ro

Conference

ConferenceThe Body Politic: States in the History of Medicine and Health
Abbreviated titleEAHMH Conference
CountryRomania
CityBucharest
Period2017/08/302017/09/02
Internet address