Gareth M. Thomas

Down's Syndrome Screening and Reproductive Politics

Care, Choice, and Disability in the Prenatal Clinic

Routledge 2017

New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network August 15, 2017 Nivedita Kar

Drawing on an ethnography of Down’s syndrome screening in two UK clinics, Gareth M. Thomas‘ Down’s Syndrome and Reproductive Politics: Care, Choice, and Disability...

Drawing on an ethnography of Down’s syndrome screening in two UK clinics, Gareth M. ThomasDown’s Syndrome and Reproductive Politics: Care, Choice, and Disability in the Prenatal Clinic (Routledge, 2017) explores how and why we are so invested in this practice and what effects this has on those involved. Informed by theoretical approaches that privilege the mundane and micro practices, discourses, materials, and rituals of everyday life, Downs Syndrome Screening and Reproductive Politics describes the banal world of the clinic and, in particular, the professionals contained within it who are responsible for delivering this programme. In so doing, it illustrates how Downs syndrome screening is downgraded and subsequently stabilised as a routine part of a pregnancy. Further, the book captures how this routinisation is deepened by a systematic, but subtle, framing of Downs syndrome as a negative pregnancy outcome. By unpacking the complex relationships between professionals, parents, technology, policy, and clinical practice, Thomas identifies how and why screening is successfully routinised and how it is embroiled in both new and familiar debates surrounding pregnancy, ethics, choice, diagnosis, care, disability, and parenthood.


Nivedita Kar is a student at the University of Southern California, having graduated from UCLA with a double major in Anthropology and Statistics and a masters degree from Northwestern University in biostatistics and epidemiology. She is immersed in the realm of academia and medicine, she hopes to be one of the rare few who aim to bridge the gap between clinical literacy and statistical methods.

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