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Personalized MedicineEmpowered Patients in the 21st Century?$
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Barbara Prainsack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479814879

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479814879.001.0001

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Beyond Empowerment

Beyond Empowerment

(p.75) 4 Beyond Empowerment
Personalized Medicine

Barbara Prainsack

NYU Press

In order to assess who is empowered by technologies and practices of personalized medicine, we need to look at how structural aspects of power interact with the self-governance of people. After a discussion of how we can see and analyze power, this chapter illustrates the dynamics of empowerment and disempowerment by using two cases, direct-to-consumer (DTC) genome-wide testing, and the (re-)quantification of medical imaging. In both cases, technologies and practices of personalization lead to new ways of discriminating between people on the basis of seemingly “objective” individual somatic characteristics. This has consequences for social and political categories such as fairness, as well as for seemingly factual notions such as age.

Keywords:   genome-wide testing, medical imaging, discrimination

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