SHI Book Prize & Routledge Handbook

Together with Anna Harris (Maastricht) and Susan Kelly (Exeter), we have won the 2017 Sociology of Health and Illness book prize for our book CyberGenetics: Health Genetics and New Media (Routledge 2016). The award is given each year by the Medical Sociology group of the British Sociological Association for the book that makes ‘the most significant contribution to the sub-discipline of medical sociology/sociology of health and illness’.

The book critically examines the market of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing from a social science perspective, asking: “What happens when genetics goes online?” Drawing upon empirical examples of DTC genetic testing websites (using online methods) and in-depth interviews in the United Kingdom with people using healthcare services, we describe the new social arrangements which emerge when a traditionally clinical practice (genetic testing) is taken into new spaces (the internet). Barbara Prainsack, endorsing the book on the back cover, writes: “This book is a powerful antidote to simplistic portrayals of online genetics as either empowering or harming test-takers. Using novel and innovative methodologies to explore how users and health professionals make sense of online genetics, it provides fascinating and also troubling insights into the meaning of online genetics at the personal, social, and political levels”.

The research on which the book was based was funded by NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the ESRC, the British Economic and Social Research Council.

For those short of time, some of the highlights of the book can be found in our contribution to the Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society, edited by Sahra Gibbon, Barbara Prainsack, Stephen Hilgartner and Janelle Lamoreaux (2018).