208.1 Transformation of body and subjectivity in transition from molar language to molecular language: Pre-natal diagnosis and medical gaze on female body

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 9:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Emre SÜNTER , Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Eskisehir, Turkey
Medical technologies shaping the body are not only effective material tools, but also the means and techniques of transformation of the notions like self, subject, body, society or social. For example radioscopy made huge impact on the diagnoses of illnesses, but on the other hand it affected deeply the transformation of health institution, the relationship of individuals with life and health, and as a result, social relations. Today, we can talk about a change on very nature of these technologies creating new realities, not concrete or actual, but rather virtual and probabilistic. Virtual realities are not a matter of statistical inference, of pure deduction like that of old technologies; but its truth is an outcome of formal modeling, pre-programming, and digitalization. The goal of these technologies is simply to control as perfectly and seamlessly as possible all conceivable outcomes in advance. Here, it is determined not only an organic, total change in body, but also every little difference in molecular level. All technology of body is translated from molar language to molecular language.  In this sense, it is not simply based on principle of efficiency, but of ‘pre-efficiency’. Pre-natal diagnosis is the best example of this shift. It is not only a useful tool for preemption of diseases, but also a technique showing this shift from molar to molecular. By operating on female body, it changes the mode of subjectivity of women. Through this technology, institutional medical gaze gains transparency onto the female body.  It affects the relationship of women with their body and identity, in this sense it identifies a new paradigm for responsibilities, rights, and obligations in contemporary society. The aim of this session is to show with specific cases how pre-natal diagnosis transforms the subjectivity, and particularly women’s perception of life and world.