CI Munsie from our Melbourne University node has been awarded the 2018 Stephen Crook Memorial Prize for best authored book in Australian Sociology by The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) for her book titled Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope.
Authors included CI Munsie and collaborator Dr Claire Tanner from the Stem Cell Centre and Jane Brophy a Monash PhD student CI Munsie co-supervised. The book is the culmination of an eight year collaboration with Prof Alan Petersen from Monash Arts Faculty which has been supported by an ARC Discovery grant and some additional seed funding from the Commonwealth Dept of Industry.
The book was published in 2016 by Palgrave Macmillan as part of a Health, Technology and Society series and provides a unique and innovative perspective on the controversial phenomenon of ‘stem cell tourism’ where a growing number of patients are embarking on stem cell treatments that are clinically unproven and yet available in clinics and hospitals around the world. We describe this complex and rapidly changing phenomenon, including an analysis of the experiences of those who have undertaken or have contemplated undertaking a stem cell treatment, as well as examination of the views of those who undertake research or advise on or provide stem cell treatments. Developing the concept of ‘the political economy of hope’, and referencing case studies of the stem cell treatment market in China, Germany, and Australia, we call for a reframing of ‘stem cell tourism’ to understand why patients and families pursue these treatments and whether response by government authorities and others are appropriate and proportionate to the alleged risks.