3 May 2012, 4.00 PM
Shirlene Badger (Ph.D Sociology, Cambridge) is currently based in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. Her research explores what happens when a group of children who are severely obese participate in a genetics of obesity study and potentially receive a genetic diagnosis for the obesity in their family.
This paper draws on data collected as part of an ethnographic exploration of the recruitment of individuals with severe/early onset obesity to a genetics of obesity study. The broader research project explores the impact of this genetic research on how obesity is understood, explained and experienced across scientific, political, personal and familiar terrains. In this paper I will focus on the narratives of the routes and journeys by which family members either did, or did not receive a genetic diagnosis for their obesity. I will highlight two simple and fundamental understandings that underpin family members descriptions and reasonings for their initial recruitment to the genetics study. Firstly participants consistently described their recruitment as being 'just another test'. Secondly they explained that while blood was taken and sent away, they understood it as 'just another study'. By highlighting these narratives I will illustrate how family members come to understand and know their diagnosis, and the impact of longer term engagement with genetic research on obesity and how this potentially differs from other genetic research or clinical practice.