You are on page 1of 3

Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots by Robbie Davis-Floyd; Joseph Dumit Review by: Janelle S.

Taylor Medical Anthropology Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), pp. 509-510 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/649563 . Accessed: 26/12/2012 09:05
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

.

Wiley and American Anthropological Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded on Wed, 26 Dec 2012 09:05:09 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Dick Willems's highly focused essay on asthmadrugsidentifiesthe social life. 118). 223).andchildrearing. differenceleadingto different sciences of pain management-reminiscent of parallelworkby NorthAmericananthroBowker. and even biopower of pharmaceuticals:drugs"definediseases"and"reorganizethebodyby creatingnew identitiesfor it"(p."themedicine of pain.readerswill find most essays worthy of thoughtful consideration and should appreciatein particular theoretithe cal insightsandethnographic additionsto the corpusof studieson biomedicine.1998.prenatal diagnosis. essay on a nursinginterventionsclassification scheme providesan intriguinginterpretation of the modeling of "living organizationalmemory. and other physicians."to capture the practice and interactions of a highly complex multidisciplinary team. volume brings together the work of wellknown and less-establishedscholarsand includes autobiographical fictionalpieces and as well as essays based upon ethnographic research. 178). TAYLOR Departmentof Anthropology Universityof Oregon This collection of 16 original essays addressesthe rangeof ways in which technologies havecome to be involved in conception. and hierarchy. and Star's pologists.the stabilterminacyof laboratory ity of instabilityis nicely analyzed through contrastingcomments of technologists. Timmermans. and science and technology studies. collectionis verymuch the in the stream-crossing boundaries between medical anthropologyand social and cultural studies of biotechnology and bioscience. management of infants' pain. Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots. The ethnographicslices in Vicky Singelton's studyof practicein a cytopathologylab in the UK convey the ambivalenceandindedecisions. revealingwhatis "invisible"(p. culturalpower. IsabelleBaszanger'sstudyof the emergence of a new medicalfield in Paris. phrase"ontologicalchoreography" 192) to addresshow women treatedfor infertility are actively engaged in their "objectification"(p. New York and London: Routledge.Thematically. 26 Dec 2012 09:05:09 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . She identifies the demise of territorialism of anearliereraandthroughthe wordsof her informants. Robbie Davis-Floyd and JosephDumit.x +358 pp.childbirth. Nevertheless. arguingthat agency is not necessarily lost throughtheuse of technology. exploringpractice.BOOKREVIEWS 509 Although some authorsin this collection have tried to cast their contributions as highly differentfrom currentwork in medical anthropology.feminist studies.It is a valuable additionto the vibrantliterature has sprungup aroundthe that intersectionof medical anthropology. The collection would have benefited froma strongeditorialhandto tameexcesses of jargon and unfocused theorizing." with chapterson topics including infertility treatments.whichshe illustrateswith well-analyzedinterview excerpts. eds."comparestwo paincentersandprovides a social analysisof multidisciplinarity. The pregnancy. JANELLES. In her chapteron female patientsin an infertility clinic.and disaggregating diversity in bioscience and medical settings. "work objects" and "negotiatedorder. from social workers to all of the possible medicalsubspecialtiesengaged in fetal biology. covering patient interpretationsof successful and failed in vito fertilizationcycles. She takes an interestingposition. Charis Cussins coins the (p. pathologists.""making visible"embodied knowledge. the volume is unified by the authors'engagementwith the image of the This content downloaded on Wed.andchildren'scomputergames. Theoretically.the book is organized around "chronologyof thecyborgbaby's the techno-organiclife cycle. Similarly.conveys a sense of dynamismin thisworldof subspecialtymedicine.

illness. Illness. and Medicine. Sobo. text of Health. combine their respective disciplinary towarda broader "sociocultural strengths apto proach" healthandillness (p.turalvariations the way health.CyborgBabies is eminently suitablefor use in graduateandundergraduate teachingand will be indispensablereading for scholars in the many fields upon whichit touches. suchthattheresulting volume is less a grandresolutionthana mappingof the extremely varied and interesting terrainwherethese two streamsmeet. healersandpotential complementarity among Both volumes arewrittenby social scientists theirsystems.and theirtext underscoresthe importanceof examininghealth. Moerman. ofMedicine. anddisease. Tancredi. andhumanehealthcare"in the UnitedStates The Anthropology of Medicine: From (p. eds.differ. and Medicine. cine withina multicultural nauandSobo's intentis to link sociocultural and Medicine.It describes Bergin & Garvey. siderationsin medical practice.CT: siders how individualvalues and behaviors affecthealth. MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY QUARTERLY who appreciatethe common humanityrevealed in health-seekingactivitiesof human beings across cultures.In Chapter the authorsexploreculin tion of an edited work by Lola Romanucci. CT: Bergin & systemsto healthandwell-beingandto highlightthe role of those linksin providing"just Garvey. Daniel E. clinical encountersdominatedby ethnocenATHENA MCLEAN contrismandidentifiestheneed forcultural Departmentof Sociology. Some essays sufferfrom an excess of jargon (including newly coined terms such as cyborgification). the life course and culturally diverse life andTheAnthropology 4. Martha0. Culture to Method.a 3rdedi. andgender)shapeoutTwo recentvolumes-The CulturalCon. and thatbuild on this approach. as famously set forth by Donna Haraway. Anthropology.a sociologist. Individual contributorsnavigate this tensionin differentways.The theoreticalassumptionsand commitmentsentailedin the image of the irreduciblyhybridcyborgmeshsomewhatuneasily. Lola RoThe text is organizedinto seven chapters manucci-Ross.1997. and however. viii + 221 pp.andTancredi'svolume combinescritical analyses of Western medical ideology with studies illustratingthe resourcefulness of non-Western approaches to promoting healthandhealing. Illness. In TheCulturalContextof Health. MarthaLoustaunau.illness. cuss the approaches of different kinds of illness. Westport. Theycontend that appreciationfor culturaldiversity and the unity of human sufferingis needed for aneffective medicalsystemin theUnited States.Loustaunau Sobo focus on themulticultural contextof health. Westport. Their emphases.illness.treatmentare conceptualized. and delivery. 1997.Chapter1 conLaurenceR. Chapter2 and Social Work conditions(family.Illness. Daniel Moerman. and Elisa Sobo. 7). and Ross. however. considershow structural CentralMichigan University ethnicity.illness. and medical practice within the United States.whichapand peal to the "natural" the "female"in order to critique(male) medicineand technology. xiv + 400 pp. Loustaunauand Elisa J.stages.but overall the collection is highly readable. and Western scientific medicine. access.a new Chapter3 examines health and illness over text by MarthaLoustaunauand Elisa Sobo. care seeking. Chapter5 historicallylocates This content downloaded on Wed.510 cyborg.comes.social class. andmedicontext. whereas Romanucci-Ross. Moerman.with thequitedifferentones emergingout of feministwritings. 3rd ed.and they discredi-examine the culturalbases of health.4). an anthropologist.and LawrenceTan. 26 Dec 2012 09:05:09 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .LoustauThe Cultural Context of Health.