The Marketization of Identity Politics

The Marketization of Identity Politics

Volume 47, Number 5 (October 2013)
pages 1011-1025
DOI: 10.1177/0038038513495604

Catherine Bliss, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of California, San Francisco

Sociology has begun to question how new genetic sciences affect older ways of constructing and contesting social identity, including forms of identity politics that have brought women and minorities significant gains. This article presents US debates on genetics, identity politics, and race in order to theorize emergent transformations in light of the genomic revolution. Examining recent developments in the realms of pharmaceuticals and ancestry estimation, I argue that traditional forms of identity politics are still actively at work, though they are being marketized in novel ways. This article combines theories of racialization and medicalization to detail how genomics ushers in a subtle new version of identity politics: a pharmaceuticalized citizenship wherein health rights and political participation are co-envisioned in individualistic molecular terms.

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