The Hormone of Growth and Hope. The Case of Turner Syndrome

Keywords: growth hormone, Turner Syndrome, technology, materiality

Abstract

Turner Syndrome (TS) is a condition that affects only girls and women and involves a partial or complete absence of the X chromosome. It is a well recognized medical condition and a multidimensional cultural fact that has appeared in specific historical, social and geographical contexts. TS is characterized by, among others, short stature, and ovarian failure. Girls with TS are put on estrogen replacement therapy and growth hormone treatment, which means a daily injection, starting at around 5 years of age or later and usually continuing until around 15. Without this treatment, girls suffering from it would be on average 20 cms shorter than women unaffected by it. In this text, I intend to look at the biosocial work of the growth hormone. I examine the purpose of it, and describe the work of hope being carried out in reference to hormone treatment. It is a technology, which is adaptable and flexible and from my perspective, hormones are “fluid objects”. I present both the daily regimes and the regular biomedical controls taking place regarding GH treatment, describe the private and public histories of growth hormone therapy, and analyse an experience of the materiality of hormones, focusing on a pen injector device.

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Author Biography

Magdalena Radkowska-Walkowicz, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology - University of Warsaw

PhD. Hab.; associate professor (Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology UW)

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Published
2019-12-15
How to Cite
Radkowska-Walkowicz, M. (2019). The Hormone of Growth and Hope. The Case of Turner Syndrome. Ethnologia Polona, 40, 13-28. Retrieved from http://journals.iaepan.pl/ethp/article/view/14