Society and Technologies on Health and Illness

Rare Disease Social Research Center (RDSRC) at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology in the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS PAN)  announces the first “Society and Technologies on Health and Illness” seminar in the academic year 2020/2021:

Dr Karoliina Snell (Docent, University of Helsinki)

“‘Well, I knew this already’ – genetic risk information and narratives of health and illness”.

Several policies, strategies and research projects around the globe aim at providing personal genetic risk information for people to help them make good lifestyle choices and prevent onset of diseases. In 2014, a large-scale pilot project called GeneRISK was launched in Finland. The participants of GeneRISK received a personal risk score for having a cardiovascular event based on genetic analysis, lifestyle information and laboratory results. The project continued a long Finnish tradition of developing tools to estimate personal cardiovascular disease risk. In this talk, I present results from a focus group’s study conducted among participants of GeneRISK.

I argue that the genetic risk score provided little new information for the participants, as they were well aware of their family history and incorporated the risk scores easily to their existing narratives of personal health and illness. Instead of serving as an explanation for health and illness, which can help guide people’s lives and choices, the genetic risk information became an object of explanation for the participants. Therefore, the risk information did not create new conceptions of personal risk, nor did it generate new tools to push people to change their lifestyles. Instead, the risk information was used to strengthen their existing impression of personal risk.

Please join us via Zoom, 29.10. at 3 p.m. Everybody is welcome!

Meeting link:

Meeting ID: 898 5587 0901

Passcode: 243370

For more information about the seminars please visit our website:

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