Making disease, making citizens: The politics of hepatitis C

Making Disease, Making CitizensFraser, S. and Seear, K. (2011). Routledge.

Since the naming of hepatitis C in 1989, knowledge about the disease has grown exponentially. So too, however, has the stigma with which it is linked. Associated with injecting drug use and tainted blood scandals, hepatitis C inspires fear and blame. Making Disease, Making Citizens takes a timely look at the disease, those directly affected by it and its social and cultural implications. Drawing on personal interviews and a range of textual sources, the book presents a scholarly and engaging analysis of a newly identified and highly controversial disease and its relationship to philosophies of health, risk and harm in the West. It maps the social and medical negotiations taking place around the disease, shedding light on the ways these negotiations are also co-producing new selves. Adopting a feminist science and technology studies approach, this theoretically sophisticated, empirically informed analysis of the social construction of disease and the philosophy of health will appeal to those with interests in the sociology of health and medicine, health communication and harm reduction, and science and technology studies.

Reviews: ‘While HIV has generated a vast body of critical analysis, hepatitis C has been oddly neglected by scholars in the humanities and social sciences. This book invents the new field of critical hep C studies, bringing to bear the creative energies of science studies to show us not only how to understand hep C, but also how to understand disease in the making.’
Catherine Waldby, Sydney University, Australia

‘This is a provocative, thoughtful and far-reaching work which reveals the complex ontology of hepatitis C and challenges self-evident truths about the virus, those affected by it and its treatment. Making Disease Making Citizens not only provides a sophisticated political analysis of a “disease under construction”, it develops an ethical and epistemological framework capable of illuminating other pressing health issues.’
Helen Keane, Australian National University, Australia

‘I found this book an extremely interesting and thought-provoking read and a refreshingly different take on the analysis of sociological data related to a specific health issue. Given the complexity of the concepts introduced in the book, I would see it as suitable for later-year students and postgraduates who already have a background in the sociology of health and illness or STS and for those health sociology academics who are interested in STS approaches. It would be a particularly useful book for postgrads embarking upon or considering adopting a STS approach to their own research as it illustrates so well the productive ways in which this perspective can be applied to health sociology topic.’
Professor Deborah Lupton, The University of Sydney

‘This work is rich in theoretical engagement, but also methodologically strong. Inspired by the work done in feminist and science and technology studies, the authors show us how to use those methodologies in self-reflective ways, which in itself is a significant contribution to not only the sociology of health, but also social science methodology in general. This book is highly recommended for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students and all scholars interested in the social construction of disease, epistemology, and methodology.’
Contemporary Sociology