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Making the Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality
This innovative ethnographic study animates the racial politics that underlie genomic research into type 2 diabetes, one of the most widespread chronic diseases and one that affects ethnic groups disproportionately. Michael J. Montoya follows blood donations from “Mexican-American” donors to laboratories that are searching out genetic contributions to diabetes. His ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published March 18th 2011 by University of California Press
(first published February 16th 2011)
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I think on some level my critique of this work is a reflection of my qualms with Actor-Network theory generally. While he does an excellent job framing the discussion around how the extraction of valuable Mexicana/o DNA is contingent upon historically-situated systems of structural inequality which obfuscate the sacrificial labor of the participants by tracing the relations among assemblages of objects and people within the larger network of diabetes science, the flattening of power relations ...more
This was a big disappointment; I was keen to read it based on the quality of Montoya's essay on "Bioethnic conscription" in Cultural Anthropology. That was a really terrific piece based on a cool project and I thought that extended to book length it would be dynamite. Instead it was kind of lousy. Of the book, fully 1/4 must consist of throat-clearing ("In the next section I will do... I have just done... I now turn to...). The rest is just not as rewarding as I hoped it would be--this book is a ...more