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What binds biosociality? The collective effervescence of the parent-led conference

Dimond, Rebecca ORCID:, Bartlett, Andrew and Lewis, Jamie ORCID: 2015. What binds biosociality? The collective effervescence of the parent-led conference. Social Science and Medicine 126 , pp. 1-8. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.12.005

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Questions of community are central to many research sites in the social sciences. Rabinow argued that, in the wake of the Human Genome Project, an increasingly important form of collectivity would be biosociality. Biosociality highlights the central role of biomedical knowledge in constructing genetic identities and producing and reproducing social relationships. Accordingly, it is often imagined as a new form of social interaction. We draw on observations of parent-led conferences organised around a particular genetic syndrome – 22q11 deletion syndrome – to empirically explore the mechanism through which biosociality is enacted. The conferences took place within the UK between 2007 and 2010 and were observed as part of a multi-sited ethnography. What binds individuals and creates a sense of community is a social process, and conferences are significant occasions where such biosociality ‘happens’. Furthermore, we suggest that the creation of bonds between members of a community is facilitated by the expression of a traditional theoretical social process - collective effervescence. This paper therefore demonstrates a commonality between established sociological understanding of collective effervescence and more recent theories of biosociality. We argue that in the case of the 22q11 deletion syndrome groups examined in this paper, parent conferences brings individuals together physically, and it is the shared emotional experience of the conference – the collective effervescence – that consolidates and renews the connection between members of the community.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: United Kingdom; Biosociality; Collective effervescence; Conferences; Rare disease community; 22q11 deletion syndrome; Ceremonial order
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0277-9536
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 18:14

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