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Digital health – a new medical cosmology? The case of 23andMe online genetic testing platform

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journal contribution
posted on 17.04.2018, 10:09 by Paula Saukko
This article argues that commercial digital health platforms and devices commodify participatory features of the digital creating a new medical cosmology. Drawing on sociology on medical cosmologies, research on digital media and marketing and an analysis of the 23andMe online genetic testing platform, I identify three features of this cosmology. First, digital health seeks to foment ‘flow’ or enjoyable, continuous immersion in health. Second, digital health configures its consumers as ‘co-creators’ of health data and knowledge together with companies and other consumers. Third, digital health frames medical knowledge as tentative, up for revision and scepticism by expert and lay science. The way in which digital health configures consumers as immersed, creative and sceptical gives it an open-ended and participatory air. However, the conceptual discussion and the analysis of the 23andMe platform highlight that these features represent commercial capture of the lifeworld, even if they appear radical against classical medical cosmologies.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Sociology of Health and Illness

Citation

SAUKKO, P., 2018. Digital health – a new medical cosmology? The case of 23andMe online genetic testing platform. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40(8), pp.1312-1326.

Publisher

Wiley (© Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

01/04/2018

Publication date

2018-07-11

Notes

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: SAUKKO, P., 2018. Digital health – a new medical cosmology? The case of 23andMe online genetic testing platform. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40(8), pp.1312-1326, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12774. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

ISSN

0141-9889

Language

en

Exports

Loughborough Publications

Keywords

Exports