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Title: Social acceptance of antenatal screening for Down's syndrome in Britain : a case study on the public legitimization of technology
Author: Watanabe, Maiko
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2007
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The aim of this thesis is to discuss the issue of public legitimization of new medical technology, through a case of antenatal screening for Down's syndrome in Britain. It is based on ethnographic study of agents involved with the technology; inventors of the technology, medical practitioners, pregnant women, and people with disability and their families, especially parents. The thesis is interdisciplinary based on mainly two frames of reference; Science and Technology Studies and Disability Studies. The former equips the thesis with the basis to understand the process of invention and promotion of the technology, in the social context I will especially focus on transformation of rhetoric to legitimate the technology in its process. The latter provides the critical standpoint to observe the fundamental idea of antenatal screening that it is better to prevent life with disability. Today, provision of antenatal screening is commonly legitimated for its ability to enhance autonomous decision of women in the clinical setting. However it is questionable whether women can make reliable autonomous decisions, when they can only imagine the immediate consequences of their decision (Rapp and Ginsburg, 2001). Based on the idea of disability studies, I will argue that the key to the public legitimization of antenatal screening technology lies in the approach towards life with disability that society should take. I will show that an important problem in the process of social acceptance of antenatal screening for Down's syndrome in Britain is the lack of serious examination of alternatives to the preventive medical approach towards disability that this technology offers. I conclude that in order to generate the public legitimization of antenatal screening technology in the future, it is necessary for the public to consider a variety of possible approaches that society can take towards life with the targeted condition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RJ Pediatrics