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Chromosomes and Communication: The Discourse of Genetic Counseling

Rayna Rapp
Medical Anthropology Quarterly
New Series, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 143-157
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/649158
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Chromosomes and Communication: The Discourse of Genetic Counseling
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Abstract

Amniocentesis is one of the new reproductive technologies, and a new health profession, the genetic counselor, has been developed to communicate medical information to patients about its risks and benefits. In this article 1 examine the language of genetic counseling as it communicates and miscommunicates not only medical information but also structural power arrangements, social knowledge, and popular meanings about medically defined disability. The analysis--based on two years of field-work in New York City hospitals observing amniocentesis intake interviews, interviewing 30 genetic counselors, and visiting scores of pregnant patients at home--focuses on the multiple understandings that arise at the intersection of professional and popular knowledge in contemporary American life.

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