Somatosphere: Subprime Health

By Naomi Zucker

Subprime Health (Nadine Ehlers and Leslie R. Hinkson, editors)Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars in sociology, geography, public health, STS, and critical race studies, among others, the book centers around race-based medicine, which the authors take to include not only the clinical practices of racially-targeted treatment, prescription, and research, but also—crucially—the larger ecosystem of historical and present-day racial inequities and oppressions within and outside of the medical realm. It thus encompasses the differential medical treatment of specific racial groups for specific complaints due to assumed fundamental differences in biology, behavior, or culture; race-targeted pharmaceutical interventions, or “ethnopharmacogenomics”, which take race as a good-enough proxy for ancestry and genetic difference; and, finally, the imbricated infrastructures of health and society in which race largely determines what kind of care one receives.


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