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From Health To Wealth: The Future Of Personalized Medicine In The Making

Heta Tarkkala, Heta Tarkkala, Ilpo Helén, Karoliina Snell
Published 2019 · Sociology

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Abstract During the past decade, in Finland and elsewhere, biomedicine and genomics-related initiatives have been organized under the sociotechnical imaginary of personalized medicine. Within this imaginary, the medical future is promoted and made up, and the activities often subtly change the very meaning of what the imaginary of personalized medicine entails. In this paper, we study the Finnish strategies and pursuits addressing the utilization of genomics to advance personalized medicine. We build our analysis on previous research on sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff & Kim, 2015) and the hype and expectations surrounding emerging technologies (Borup et al., 2006; Brown & Michael, 2003; Brown, 2003). We emphasize that the sociotechnical imaginary requires practical maintenance. In our analysis we address both rhetorical and action framings related to the making of personalized medicine and point out that activities of maintenance simultaneously pursue and reconfigure the imaginary of personalized medicine. Furthermore, our analysis shows that the focus of advocacy in personalized medicine has shifted from the promise of health to the promise of wealth as innovation policy and data-driven medicine have become the key framings.
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