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The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks. / Smart, Andrew; Tutton, Richard; Martin, Paul; Ellison, George T. H.; Ashcroft, Richard.

In: Social Studies of Science, Vol. 38, No. 3, 06.2008, p. 407-423.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Harvard

Smart, A, Tutton, R, Martin, P, Ellison, GTH & Ashcroft, R 2008, 'The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks', Social Studies of Science, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 407-423. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312707083759

APA

Smart, A., Tutton, R., Martin, P., Ellison, G. T. H., & Ashcroft, R. (2008). The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks. Social Studies of Science, 38(3), 407-423. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312707083759

Vancouver

Smart A, Tutton R, Martin P, Ellison GTH, Ashcroft R. The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks. Social Studies of Science. 2008 Jun;38(3):407-423. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312707083759

Author

Smart, Andrew ; Tutton, Richard ; Martin, Paul ; Ellison, George T. H. ; Ashcroft, Richard. / The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks. In: Social Studies of Science. 2008 ; Vol. 38, No. 3. pp. 407-423.

Bibtex

@article{a616d45e211f49dca9718628478fc4a4,
title = "The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks",
abstract = "As the search for human genetic variation has become a priority for biomedical science, debates have resurfaced about the use of race and ethnicity as scientific classifications. In this paper we consider the relationship between race, ethnicity and genetics, using insights from science and technology studies (STS) about processes of classification and standardization. We examine how leading biomedical science journals attempted to standardize the classifications of race and ethnicity, and analyse how a sample of UK genetic scientists used the concepts in their research. Our content analysis of 11 editorials and related guidelines reveals variations in the guidance on offer, and it appears that there has been a shift from defining the concepts to prescribing methodological processes for classification. In qualitative interviews with 17 scientists, the majority reported that they had adopted sociopolitical classification schemes from state bureaucracy (for example, the UK Census) for practical reasons, although some scientists used alternative classifications that they justified on apparently methodological grounds. The different responses evident in the editorials and interviews can be understood as reflecting the balance of flexibility and stability that motivate standardization processes. We argue that, although a genetic concept of race and ethnicity is unlikely to wholly supplant a socio-political one, the adoption of census classifications into biomedical research is an alignment of state bureaucracy and science that could have significant consequences.",
keywords = "classification, ethnicity, genetics, population, race, standardization, CLINICAL-PRACTICE, HEALTH, MEDICINE, GENETICS, CLASSIFICATIONS, GENOMICS, GENES",
author = "Andrew Smart and Richard Tutton and Paul Martin and Ellison, {George T. H.} and Richard Ashcroft",
year = "2008",
month = jun,
doi = "10.1177/0306312707083759",
language = "English",
volume = "38",
pages = "407--423",
journal = "Social Studies of Science",
issn = "0306-3127",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The standardization of race and ethnicity in biomedical science editorials and UK biobanks

AU - Smart, Andrew

AU - Tutton, Richard

AU - Martin, Paul

AU - Ellison, George T. H.

AU - Ashcroft, Richard

PY - 2008/6

Y1 - 2008/6

N2 - As the search for human genetic variation has become a priority for biomedical science, debates have resurfaced about the use of race and ethnicity as scientific classifications. In this paper we consider the relationship between race, ethnicity and genetics, using insights from science and technology studies (STS) about processes of classification and standardization. We examine how leading biomedical science journals attempted to standardize the classifications of race and ethnicity, and analyse how a sample of UK genetic scientists used the concepts in their research. Our content analysis of 11 editorials and related guidelines reveals variations in the guidance on offer, and it appears that there has been a shift from defining the concepts to prescribing methodological processes for classification. In qualitative interviews with 17 scientists, the majority reported that they had adopted sociopolitical classification schemes from state bureaucracy (for example, the UK Census) for practical reasons, although some scientists used alternative classifications that they justified on apparently methodological grounds. The different responses evident in the editorials and interviews can be understood as reflecting the balance of flexibility and stability that motivate standardization processes. We argue that, although a genetic concept of race and ethnicity is unlikely to wholly supplant a socio-political one, the adoption of census classifications into biomedical research is an alignment of state bureaucracy and science that could have significant consequences.

AB - As the search for human genetic variation has become a priority for biomedical science, debates have resurfaced about the use of race and ethnicity as scientific classifications. In this paper we consider the relationship between race, ethnicity and genetics, using insights from science and technology studies (STS) about processes of classification and standardization. We examine how leading biomedical science journals attempted to standardize the classifications of race and ethnicity, and analyse how a sample of UK genetic scientists used the concepts in their research. Our content analysis of 11 editorials and related guidelines reveals variations in the guidance on offer, and it appears that there has been a shift from defining the concepts to prescribing methodological processes for classification. In qualitative interviews with 17 scientists, the majority reported that they had adopted sociopolitical classification schemes from state bureaucracy (for example, the UK Census) for practical reasons, although some scientists used alternative classifications that they justified on apparently methodological grounds. The different responses evident in the editorials and interviews can be understood as reflecting the balance of flexibility and stability that motivate standardization processes. We argue that, although a genetic concept of race and ethnicity is unlikely to wholly supplant a socio-political one, the adoption of census classifications into biomedical research is an alignment of state bureaucracy and science that could have significant consequences.

KW - classification

KW - ethnicity

KW - genetics

KW - population

KW - race

KW - standardization

KW - CLINICAL-PRACTICE

KW - HEALTH

KW - MEDICINE

KW - GENETICS

KW - CLASSIFICATIONS

KW - GENOMICS

KW - GENES

U2 - 10.1177/0306312707083759

DO - 10.1177/0306312707083759

M3 - Journal article

VL - 38

SP - 407

EP - 423

JO - Social Studies of Science

JF - Social Studies of Science

SN - 0306-3127

IS - 3

ER -