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Title: Genetic information, life assurance, and the UK policy and regulatory framework
Author: Mittra, James
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis provides the first extensive sociological analysis of the genetics and life assurance debate in the UK. It uses data from original qualitative interviews, as well as various policy documents and reports, to investigate the likely implications of genetic information for life assurance provision, reveal the narrative strategies used by key stakeholders as they account for their concerns on the issue, and evaluate the efficacy of the policy and regulatory framework. It also attempts to evaluate the suitability of the citizens’ jury model as an alternative to existing decision-making procedures. The thesis begins by revealing the most likely social, commercial, legal, and ethical implications of allowing insurers to access new kinds of genetic information. A history of insurance, risk and probability is used as a starting point to challenge many of the pervasive fears and anxieties. This part of the thesis critically analyses the social and philosophical basis of such contested notions as ’discrimination’, 'social exclusion’, 'genetic information', and ‘social justice’, and begins to reveal some of the key strategies of stakeholders in the debate. The thesis then analyses stakeholder accounts of their concerns, and begins to reveal the ways in which they draw on a broad narrative repertoire to give their beliefs a degree of moral legitimacy/coherency. The impact this may have on the quality of debate is also investigated. Following from the analysis of stakeholder accounts, the thesis proceeds to investigate the nature of the policymaking and regulatory framework. Through a sociological analysis of the work of various advisory committees, which led to the implementation of a moratorium on insurers' use of genetic information, the thesis investigates how fair and equitable the overall political process has been, particularly in terms of the treatment of stakeholder evidence. It also assesses the role of the public and media in shaping the political response to this issue. The thesis concludes by assessing the citizens’ jury as suitable procedures for resolving the conflicts around genetic information and life assurance. Both the potential advantages and persistent problems with the model are critically evaluated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HG Finance ; HM Sociology