New publications

A Harris, S Kelly and S Wyatt. 2014. ‘Autobiologies on YouTube: Narratives of direct-to-consumer genetic testingNew Genetics & Society 33 (1): 60-78.

The market for personal genomics is growing, but little is known about how people engage with the possibilities offered by direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. In this article, we analyse YouTube videos posted by individuals who have purchased DTC genetic testing for disease. Genetic testing is said to be contributing to new states of illness, where individuals may become “patients-in-waiting.” But we found a new form of storytelling about this ambiguous state of illness, which we refer to as autobiology. Autobiology – the study of, and story about, one’s own biology – concerns narratives of sense-making through forms of biological practice, as well as wayfaring narratives which interweave genetic markers and family histories of disease. These autobiologies – part of a broader shift toward public stories about genetics and other healthcare technologies – exhibit playfulness, as well as being bound with consumerist practices.

Horizon panel

J Allmendinger, J Stamm and S Wyatt. 2013. ‘Laying the ground for true interdisciplinarity – Engaging the social sciences and humanities across Horizon 2020’, Forschung: Politik – Strategie – Management 6 (3/4): 92-94.

J Allmendinger, J Stamm & S Wyatt. 2013. The EU and research in the social sciences and humanities, WZB Mitteilungen142: 39-40

In these two short articles, together with Jutta Allmendinger President of the Berlin Social Science Center, and Julia Stamm, now working at the European Commission, Sally Wyatt reports on the session held at the Vilnius Conferences about ‘Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities’ held in September 2013. One of the main points was about the use of the word ‘embedding’ to describe how social sciences and humanities should engage with the Societal Challenges identified under Horizon 2020. Sally drew the analogy with ‘embedded journalists’ who often end up either co-opted by the military or dead. Neither of these are attractive for scholars in the humanities and social sciences, who may also want to define their own research agenda, or take more critical distance from the research agendas set by the European Commission or industry.