"IT’S SECURITY, BUT NOT INSURANCE." CORD BLOOD BANKING PRACTICES BETWEEN BIO-COSMOPOLITANISM AND GIFT ECONOMY
"IT’S SECURITY, BUT NOT INSURANCE." CORD BLOOD BANKING PRACTICES BETWEEN BIO-COSMOPOLITANISM AND GIFT ECONOMY

Author(s): Sandra Appleby-Arnold
Subject(s): Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Health and medicine and law
Published by: Институт за етнологију и антропологију
Keywords: biological citizenship; cosmopolitanism; (non-)knowledge; gift economy; biosocialities;

Summary/Abstract: During the last two decades, umbilical cord blood (CB) has become increasingly accepted as a stem cellrich source which can be used in, primarily, leukaemia treatments as an alternative to bone marrow. Since then, there can be observed a worldwide development of public and private CB banks who either store donated CB units for allogeneic non-directed use, or, at a fee, for potential autologous (private) family use. Both public and private banks, however, do not only depend on local politics, legal frameworks, and medical systems, but are also embedded in the respective social environments and societies they act within, which represent divergent public discourses about professional roles and accountability as well as personal attitudes and practices towards healthcare and biomedicine. In the contested field between continuously increasing biomedical knowledge about CB, cognitive uncertainty, different role ascriptions and perceived responsibilities between public donation and private storage, the various social actors (parents, doctors, midwives, CB bank employees etc.) develop specific strategies of (non)-knowledge management and reinvent or transform "traditional" values and practices in this new biomedical context. With Germany and the UK as societies under research because of their contrasting difference in the individual perception and institutional construction of healthcare, it is revealed how the "mobility" of CB has the potential to test and blur the boundaries between putative antipodes on a variety of levels, developing everyday practices and attitudes which can, perhaps, be best described as "bio-cosmopolitanism".

  • Issue Year: 12/2012
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 171-179
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: English