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Accepted Paper:

Social life of a biological therapy  
Elsa Mateus (Institute of Social Sciences - University of Lisbon)

Paper long abstract:

Based on the argument proposed by Whyte, Van der Geest and Hardon (2002) that medicines can be studied as material things of therapy and, as such, holders of social lives, this paper intends to be an ethnographic essay about a biological therapy, within the concept of pharmaceutical nexus (Petryna and Kleinman, 2006).

Presenting a synopsis of the social life of Enbrel, a medicine framed in the category of so-called biological response modifiers, which are produced from a living organism through genetic engineering and recommended for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, this paper pretends to outline an overview on the processes of commodification, globalization and localization, its specific role in the health care technologies in Portugal and its implications in social relations coupled with the metaphoric and metonymic associations drawn by consumers in a active management of their illness.

Panel W055
Disease as crisis, health as imagination
  Session 1