HEAL UoS

The Genetic Family in Question: Part II

In 2012, Genetics on June 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

This is the promised follow up to an earlier post  on the fascinating Interdisciplinary Dialogue event on ‘The genetic family in question’, held last month at the Morgan Centre, Manchester Uni. The morning session was devoted to two papers on ‘Being related: Blood, genes and gendered relationalities’; with Dr Janet Fink (Open University) speaking on ‘“Her husband will not come home until the little one is adopted”: marriage, adultery and the unsettling presence of the illegitimate child in post-war family lives’, and Dr Gill Haddow (University of Edinburgh) with ‘”We only did it because he asked us”: Gendered accounts of family participation in a population genetic data collection‘.

Janet’s talk was a fascinating foray into (now historical) practices around adoption following adulterous unions &  post-war family life, drawing on rich data from relevant charity archives (eg Moral Welfare Association, Salvation Army, Jewish Board of Guardians) as to the working policies in place at that time as to who ought to be helped (ie whose children could be placed for adoption) and who should not be assisted (depending on marital status, whether or not this was the first baby put up for adoption etc).

Gill’s talk provided some fascinating insights into her qualitative study with some of the participants of Generation Scotland – examining the recruitment strategies re encouraging familial participation in the study (in contrast with, eg UK Biobank, Generation Scotland recruits families for testing in order to explore inherited factors passed on within families). Gill explored gender differences in the reported accounts of the family members responsible for recruiting others (eg trends in who they tended to recruit), strategies of recruitment and reasons for participation (eg reciprocity, a means of a family member having a health ‘mini-MOT’ without realising); and also reflected on the limitations re recruitment in light of the realities of family life ~ eg lack of close kinship ties, falling out ~ which clearly impacts on which family members are asked, and which will participate.

Their abstracts and slides, together with those in the session on mtDNA, are now available here.

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