CfP: Contested Markets of Biomedicine

Please see below for an announcement about a relevant session at the ISA XX World Congress in July 2023 for RC02 Economy & Society from Alya Guseva:

The 20th International Sociological Association World Congress will be a hybrid event held in Melbourne, Australia from June 25 – July 1, 2023. This is the ISA’s largest and most important event, held every four years. The call for abstracts is now open. You may submit a 300 word abstract via the on-line system by September 30, 2022 24:00 GMT, and you may submit up to two abstracts. You may find additional rules here. The Economy and Society Research Committee (ISA RC02) is organizing 23 open calls for abstracts which are reproduced below. Please submit your abstract here.

Contested Markets of Biomedicine

Session Organizers:
Alya GUSEVA, Boston University, USA
Akos RONA-TAS, University of California-San Diego, USA

Markets have enjoyed a privileged position in both academic and policy discourses on allocating public and private goods because they are believed to encourage competition and innovation, and benefit consumers by delivering higher quality and lower prices. There are now markets for babies, markets for gametes, intimacy (whether its takes form of a sexual encounter or platonic cuddling), human organs (illegal, for the most part), human hair, breast milk, placenta-derived products etc. Simultaneously, debates are raging on the virtues of competition and economic incentives in allocating healthcare services more efficiently, and on the ways of encouraging innovation in developing treatments for life-threatening diseases while making these treatments affordable to those who need them.

What these examples of interpenetration of markets and biomedicine all have in common is that they exemplify the tensions between beliefs, values and practices that govern market exchange (consumer choice, competition, valuation, pricing, etc.), and the social and cultural values, beliefs, practices and emotions that are associated with inclusive democratic participation in society and with the sanctity of the human body and human life.

This panel calls for papers that explore these tensions around markets for contested commodities (Radin 1996) or goods and services that some argue “money shouldn’t buy” (Sandel 2012), such as human bodies, organs, gametes (Almeling 2011), tissues and fluids, clinical labor (Cooper 2014) involving surrogates and human subjects of clinical trials, as well as life-saving drugs and treatments. We are particularly interested in the global and transnational exchange involving these contested commodities.

More info here:

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