Challenge Seminar: Storage and Personalization in the Context of Human Genomes

National biobanks and health data archives are spaces for storing genomic material and data of individuals as a commonly shared resource. While we may think of storage as a way of temporarily disposing items of reduced usefulness for the owner, and thus loosening the ties between item and person, national initiatives to collect and store DNA from citizens have revealed the opposite.

Public controversies over nationally stored and sourced genomes illuminate that storing may even strengthen the ties between person and genome. What is the relationship between storing and personalizing? How is “the personal” and “the private” represented, re-imagined, extended, copied or in other ways facilitated through storage? How are collectivities shaped and mobilized through storage practices? What temporal reasonings about person and collectivity are generated in and through the work of storing? At the seminar, Mette Nordahl Svendsen will discuss these questions in the light of MeInWe research on how genomic data are generated, stored, exchanged, and interpreted in Danish health care.

About Mette Nordahl Svendsen

Mette Nordahl Svendsen is Professor MSO of Medical Anthropology and works at the forefront of the integrated study of medicine, culture, and society. She is director of the Semper Ardens research project MeInWe ( MeInWe investigates how person and collectivity—the me in the we—are experienced, practiced and shaped when genomic data are sourced in Danish health care. MeInWe integrates different approaches and disciplines from social science, law, and the humanities.